Written by Old Bluffer 3rd Jun 2009
(Spoiler alert - this is a new film and well worth the price of a cinema ticket, so if you haven't seen it yet I'd advise you don't read on)
Of all the main bullies, Kali is the one we know the least about. She seems a bit of a bitch, true, but does she really deserve to die? And, if so, does she really deserve to die by means of guillotine blade?
Because, without any shadow of a doubt, someone is going to get sliced by this implement.
How do we know this? Well, it has been a running joke throughout the film, with the elderly art teacher warning students early on that "A safety screw has gone missing, so be careful!" There are later attempts by the caretaker to fix this potential hazard, but something always happens to stop the repair!
So, we've been teased so much by this point that every time a death approaches we've been wondering if it will be "the one with the guillotine." Jason was sitting in the art room when he died, so seemed to be an obvious candidate, but he escaped with mere pencils up his nose. So, when Kali gets a message to meet Tasha in the art room (after Tasha has been killed) we're reasonably confident we're finally going to see some slicing action.
When she gets to the art room, she spots a painting of The Scream (painted by unfortunate Jason as it happens) with her name daubed over it in red. Sneering, she mutters the fateful line "That doesn't look like me..." just as a clear plastic bag is pulled over her face, causing her to scream in a manner very much like Jason's painting!
The bag puller with great comic timing is of course Darren Mullet, and he soon has her tied to a desk, with her wrists secured directly underneath the lethally sharp guillotine blade.
"What did I ever do to you?!" she sobs, and it is a fair question now we come to think about it. It seems pretty evident that Mullet intends to slice this young girl's hands off, which seems pretty harsh punishment just for her calling him "Shrek" occasionally.
Mullet is well prepared to remind her of her past transgressions though, and helpfully slides a phone onto the desk so she can see the video it is playing. It is one of the Happy Slapping videos that the bullies used to upload to the web so the whole world could laugh at Mullet's misfortunes.
This one is the most shocking yet though. Mullet is surrounded by bullies, forcing him to face off against Khalillah. She is revelling in her power, striking his face repeatedly with full on blows. Poor old Mullet is completely helpless, it's not in his nature to fight back, especially against a diminuitive girl. The blows obviously hurt him though, and all he can do is take them while the crowd jeers and records his shame on their phones. "Why don't you fight back, Mullet?" Kali jeers at him, slapping him again, hard.
Mullet's point is therefore well made, and we have slightly less sympathy for her when he takes hold of the levered blade and brings it down with the inevitably messy result.
Blood gushing from what is left of her wrists, Kali is at least freed from her bindings and she frantically tries to use the school phone for help. Stumps aren't much use for dialing though, so she is reduced to poking at the phone with her nose (which is as funny as it sounds). Impressively, she does manage to get through on the switchboard to the principal, but when she starts screaming he impatiently tells her to get off the line - he is busy with reports of students being murdered for goodness sakes!
That was Kali's last gambit, and she falls to the floor to slowly bleed to death in the art room.
On the plus side, we finally got to see the guillotine being used!
Old Bluffer's Thoughts
This was my favourite death of the film, in part due to the teasing nature of the guillotine joke. The whole scene had just the right mix of gore and humour for my liking too, but the videophone really changed the tone. It is genuinely uncomfortable viewing when we see the nastiest instance yet of Mullet's bullying - there is no humour to be derived there at all. The device of showing this flashback to Kali via the phone was also inspired, and it shut up her protestations of innocence very effectively!
So, clever juxtaposition of great genre humour and a serious point makes this death scene a stand out classic.