The killer readers club, the Netflix movie review: a derivative slasher

The review of The Murderous Readers’ Club, a film adaptation of the Spanish novel of the same name by Carlos Garcia Miranda with a filmic scope that is too short and uninspired for an unconvincing transposition.

The killer readers club, the Netflix movie review: a derivative slasher

The summer slasher weblog arrives from Spain Netflix to greet the warm season in a genre key. It is about The Killer Readers Clubtransposition of the Iberian bestseller of the same name by Carlos Garcia Miranda, a literary mix between horror and young adult that quickly became a small guilty pleasure at home. The rather stereotyped cinematic derivation, the masks, the teenagers, the barely mentioned gore and the ease of adaptation soon convinced the streaming giant to option the novel for an original platform film, entrusting the screenplay directly from Mirando and the direction to a budding Spanish filmmaker, Carlos Alonso Ojea. A product that responds to all genre tropes and that delivers Netflix a small seasonal hit in the catalogue, despite its significant qualitative distance from a sufficient goodness of result and the total lack of a single inspiration that can be said to be even minimal unpublished.

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The Assassin Readers Club: a photo from the film

The story of The Killer Readers Club is set entirely in Madrid, mostly between the interiors and exteriors of its prestigious university. The protagonists of the story are a varied group of characters, ranging from Angela – final girl stereotype – up to the charming Nando and the womanizer and arrogant Rai. Together with Sebas, Virginia, Sara, Koldo and Eva are part of the MCSU book club, a small handful of passionate readers who regularly meet in the university’s basements to discuss this or that writing. The Last Chosen is a novel dealing with clownfobia, the unmotivated fear of clowns, and when something shocking happens to Angela, the whole group decides to put up a “joke” based on scary clowns to punish the culprit of the crime. When the game turns into tragedy, however, a mysterious online writer appears out of nowhere and begins to publish one chapter after another a novel that seems to know the story all too well, also anticipating the death of each of the protagonists from paragraph to paragraph.

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The Assassin Readers Club: a photo

The first victims alarm the members of the group who begin to doubt each other, all while the murders and the story end up online between the web and the media, arousing interest, following and a stir. While Angela is afflicted by phobic visions that make her lose touch with reality, the situation escalates quickly and it seems that somehow everything can be traced back to her. But who is behind the killer clown mask? And why, above all, do these murders only concern members of the reading club?

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A “clown” from the 90s

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The Assassin Readers Club: a scene from the film

Had it been released between ’97 and 2000, The Killer Readers’ Club would have easily become a small genre cult, opening the door to a franchise with several sequels and who knows what other expansions. The problem is that Ojea’s work comes at a historic moment in which even the masters of the genre are incapable of reinventing the slasher film in a short time, where for the most part everything has already been said and in some cases even too much. Perhaps only the final Halloween trilogy signed by David Gordon Green has managed to combine concept and classicism in a project with a strong thematic value, both intelligent and entertaining, with some sporadic novelties also coming from the union of slasher and storytelling loops in Congratulations on your death (where even the figure of the final girl was subverted) and in the more recent one Freaky with the idea of ​​swapping bodies. For the rest we have been witnessing for years now an inconclusive jumble of carbon copy titles that often fail even to excite in prosthetic or bloody inventiveness, devoid of effective solutions. Unfortunately The Killer Readers Club falls into this category, making the most of ideas coming from Scream, I know what you did e Urban Legend to unite cinematic horror with literature and try to play with the two mediums together with rather mediocre results.

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The Assassin Readers Club: an image

The characterization of the characters of Miranda is a superficial hodgepodge of stereotypes with no identity, conceptually functional to the narrative discourse but totally devoid of virtuosity or brilliant genre purposes, as happened for example in Drew Goddard’s That House in the Woods. We are really on the verge of imitation by hand, a cinematographic bricolage of visual and narrative conclusions without innovative force or bite or passion. A short, bland and predictable film that owes its existence to a memorable genre cinema today brutalized and impoverished by a rampant mythomania where the worst evil is the inconsistency of imitation and the modesty of instant gratification that wants to disguise itself as ambition . Practically a ridiculous mirror of our society.


In conclusion, The Killer Readers’ Club stages a genre derivative show without original solutions or unpublished inspirations, adapting the initial story with the sole force of narrative fidelity, however more functional on paper than on the screen. An attractive 90s film more of the same by Scream and Urban Legend with little to say and with enough aesthetic bite to entertain listlessly for ninety, empty and predictable minutes. Were it not for the giants mentioned – and copied – perhaps it could not even exist, which represents its greatest strength and its most extreme weakness.

Because we like it

  • Read on for citations from Scream and the like
  • A few spot-on gore skits.

What’s wrong

  • Totally and trivially derivative.
  • Inadequate narrative and character writing.
  • Stretch the rules of gender until they are far-fetched and redundant.

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