Panic Fest 2024 Spoiler-Free Film Reviews: “The Buildout” and “Killington”

April 19, 2024

Written by Joseph Perry

Joseph Perry is the Film Festival Editor for Horror Fuel; all film festival related queries and announcements should be sent to him at He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.

The Buildout (2024)

Aficionados of enigmatic cinema and high strangeness should find plenty to like about writer/director Zeshaan Younus’ The Buildout. After the death of one of their sisters, friends Dylan (Hannah Alline) and Cameron (Jenna Kenall) go on a motorcycle and camping excursion in the desert before Dylan leaves her old life behind and joins a religious group there. Cameron is skeptical of what she believes is actually a cult but tries to support her friend. Viewers see hints of danger involving members of the religious group. Younus leaves much of the proceedings open to interpretation as Dylan and Cameron begin opening wounds about their relationship. Cinematographer Justin Moore captures both the beauty and eeriness of the desert setting wonderfully. Alline and Kenall give top-notch performances, and Younus does a fine job of providing enough information for viewers to become invested but only enough so that we are left with some tantalizing puzzle pieces for our imaginations to fill in the gaps.   


Killington (2024)

The latest entry in the subgenre of bachelorette-party horror is Killington from codirectors Mark Dudzinski and Frank Perz, with a screenplay written by Grace Day and Matt Vita (listed as a codirector on IMDB but not in the final credits of the film) receiving a story credit. The set-up is the basic group of friends with some friction among the members driving to a remote vacation home rental (kudos to the filmmakers for having smartphones actually working there instead of the usual “no reception” trope) for the party. What makes bride-to-be Emily’s (Sarah Faye Beard) celebration weekend different is that she and her friend Lulu (Nikki MacCallum) have won a contest to spend the time with their social influencer yoga idol Kali (Sophie Sumner). Emily’s friends Darcy (Sam Morales) and Allegra (Brianna Cala) are less than enamored with the idea of outsider Kali horning in on the weekend, which they thought would involve partying rather than yoga exercises. Vita portrays handyman neighbor Travis, who becomes enamored with one of the group members. Naturally, some arguments crop up among the friends. This being a horror comedy, bodies start to pile up. Viewers will start to suspect who the perpetrator is early on, but Dudzinski and Perz do a nice job of building suspense. The friend characters are all likable sorts, so it is easy to get invested in their outcomes. The cast members all turn in solid performances, with Sumner playing a pretentious, judgmental influencer swimmingly. An issue I have with Killington is that I feel the antagonist element could have used a little more backstory or explanation as to the whys — keeping my review as spoiler-free as possible here — and that the ending felt a bit flat, although I give the film credit for it not having a final shot that is a usual trope in fear fare.


The Buildout and Killington screened as part of Panic Fest 2024, which ran April 4–10 in Kansas City, MO. For more information, visit

Share This Article

You May Also Like…