The Driller Killer

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

69%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 13

33%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,183
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Movie Info

This New York-made independent film, the auspicious debut of talented filmmaker Abel Ferrara, who also starred in the film and wrote most of its songs under the moniker "Jimmy Laine," offers many genuinely disturbing, graphic shocks as it tells the story of a Big Apple artist living on the edge of the city's fringe. Motivated by his abiding terror of ending up a homeless, drunken vagrant like his father, and suffering from terrifying hallucinations, he is driven to begin murdering homeless hoboes with a power drill. Eventually his compulsion takes a paranoid twist and he begins murdering anyone who wronged him in the past.

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Critic Reviews for The Driller Killer

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (1)

Audience Reviews for The Driller Killer

  • Jan 25, 2011
    Nothing short of "Arthouse" genus and the best Slasher flick ever made. I say this because it's old and low budget and its director Abel Ferrara first movie and of course also starring as the main character of Reno Miller an artist that is slowly going mad under the pressure of paying Debts, Bills, Drinking and the girls he lives with. Personally I hated "A Nightmare on Elm Street" such a stupid movie and of course "Friday the 13th". This movie is just creative it's more heavily metal rather then stupid put of music with creepy settings. And the killers are always mute retards with issues and always were masks and carry knifes for the gruesome killing. Although there are killings in this movie and very violent ones it's more cut always to heavy metal stuff rather then just the drill in the head. Reno Miller is an artist living with two other girls and is trying to get his final painting done to impress the art community but is slowly struggling to do so because of everyday debts and is slowly losing it under pressure. People themselves start to piss him off with the band downstairs always playing away at midnight and the people subjecting to him saying everything he has done is wrong. So one day after a party and heavy drinking he picks up a drill and goes on a spree after dark killing innocent people. After this so called "Massacre" he feels find and the pressure is off until the art committee reject his painting. Personally I liked the styling of music when he chases the homeless man into the ally it plays more rock and roll type music with cut always to show the band in his building playing and the people cheering them on. And more close ups rather then pull backs and the gothic way of the film that we see. Abel Ferrara after this would go on to make such classics as "Bad Lieutenant" and of course one of my all time favorites "King of New York" and this movie opens and paves the way to a lot of his trademarks in his films and his performances is one of the best I have seen in these kinds of movies, Same goes with "Carolyn Marz". So of course the other performances are just great no single flaw I tent to have seen. The gothic and graphic style of the film associate with "special effects" in violence is indeed gruesome. This movie landed on the video nasty list because of this but was later removed but still banned because of the critical acclaim it was gathering. I don't think it was very successful with audiences back then but critics sure loved it with the 5-5 they were giving it. So I close and say works amazingly better then your normal Slasher flick with more of a punk or metal feel to it.
    Ariuza k Super Reviewer
  • Oct 26, 2010
    Mmmm, I'm an aspiring film director with little money who wants to get my work noticed. Do I do the best I can with what I have and produce a decent film, or do I make something with needless gore, a lesbian shower scene and punk rock music to upset the censors and cause controversy? Decisions, decisions...
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • Jun 09, 2010
    I picked up this infamous video nasty at a local used DVD store. Watching the film, it reminded me of The Last House On The Left, only because the picture looked grainy and cheap. With that said, The Driller Killer is a Grind house version of popular slasher flicks of the 70's. The story is similar to Taxi Driver, and it's about an artist going Mad killing vagrants with a power drill. The film really reminded me of The Toolbox Murders minus all the other tools. The film is sick, depraved and gory, the gore is very realistic, but the film suffers overall from a credible plot which made the other flicks in this Horror sub genre so legendary and fun. The problem with The Driller Killer is that the main antagonist played Abel Ferrara is not likeable, he's got a motive to kill, he's slowly going insane, but you never sympathize with him because, he presents himself like an asshole half the time. The acting leaves much to be desired and theres really no one here that can deliver even a decent enough performance. The Driller Killer is an average horror exploitation film with nothing really original going for it. The film tends to borrow from similar elements of better films, and the filmmaker tries to create something that doesn't quite work. The film is decent, but honestly, I don't see why the film has gotten such legendary press in the horror and exploitation world. The film has plenty of kills, but little substance or plot development, in some cases films can work well when theres those elements missing, but only only as long the filmmaker knows what he's doing. But in the case of The Driller Killer, the film looks and feels like a student film, and ends up being a semi decent film. An overrated film.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Dec 20, 2009
    This early effort from Abel Ferra fall's somewhere between Taxi Driver and Maniac. It deal's with the man on the edge theme and builds up to an ultra violent climax. Abel Ferra himself, play's the lead character, an artist, living in a scuzzy neighborhood in New York City. He is being pressured to finish his "masterpiece" as he is in dire financial troubles. As the bill's keep piling up and he is unable to keep up. To make matter's worse his new neighbor's play in a band and they practice all day and night, and our protagonist can not stand the music they play. He need's some piece and quite to focus on his work, but the superintendent of his building doesn't take his complaint's seriously as he is so far behind in his rent. As the pressure keep's piling up it become's clear that he is losing his mind. When the neighbor's invite him and his girlfriends to a show they are playing he reluctantly goes, thinking it might be good to get his mind off of his work. In fact, the opposite occurs, as he leaves early and run's through the streets, on a homocidal rampage, with a driller, killing homeless wino after homeless wino. After finally finishing his painting, he invites his agent to his apartment to see it. His agent is unimpressed, reject's the work and storms off. After this his girlfriend leaves him and it seem's that out protagonist has hit rock bottom. As he is already in an unstable headspace, this final blow pushes him over the edge and lead's us to the bloodbath tht is the conclusion. While some may find it hard to beleive that the pressure's he is dealing with, would be enough to push him over the edge to such an extreme, keep in mind that school, workplace and shopping centre random killing spree's are becoming more and more common place. More and more people are finding the pressure's of modern life to much to bear and are lashing out on those around them. This film was ahead of it's time and was a good star for what would become a promising director who never really got the credit he deserved. Check it out.
    Ed Fucking H Super Reviewer

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