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Saturday, February 18, 2023

Who Killed Cooper Dunn? 2022 * * * Stars


Who Killed Cooper Dunn? is not a question, it's a movie (in the form of a question). Other people die in "Cooper", there's plenty of F-bombs being thrown around, drugs are inhaled, and a disco ball just happens to be in the middle of a forest. It's a pitching tent nightmare that seems well, dream-shared.

Starring unknown actors who are initially unlikable, exhibiting some sort of arrogant, male bonding from a Richard Linklater vehicle, Who Killed Cooper Dunn? finds its dramatic footing the further it goes along. The film is about some dudes on a camping trip, waking up to find that one of their brethren is dead (that would be Cooper Dunn, duh). How they deal with the situation turns "Cooper" into a disquieting thriller, the kind of bickering, cover-up genre piece that always seems to suck me in. 

In "Cooper", unseasoned director Nino Aldi stages flashbacks and flash forwards, never revealing too much to the audience member. Added to that, he sets up scenes like in a stage play, with his characters gnawing back and forth with each other a la the would-be accused in some whodunit slasher. 

Now is Who Killed Cooper Dunn? a messy viewing experience? Yup. Is it a layered one however? For sure and that's its saving grace. "Cooper" harbors elements of stuff like A Simple Plan, Bully, and even Scream (that's a broad range). Oh and I almost forgot, I thought it was kind of amusing that one of the personas in "Cooper" was named Dawson. I mean the flick does take place near a few creeks (har har). 

Who Killed Cooper Dunn? has a gotcha, 180 twist and a cast composed of Nino Aldi, Carlena Britch, Mike Foy, and Paul Elia. Some of the time I was put out by their dialogue readings. Other times a lot poignant, fear speak came out of their mouths so they get a pass. Endorsed "query". 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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