I Am Not a Serial Killer
Directed by Billy O'Brien
Fifteen-year old John Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it. He’s obsessed with serial killers, but really doesn’t want to become one. Terrible impulses constantly tempt him, so for his own sake, and the safety of those around, he lives by rigid rules to keep himself “good” and “normal”. However, when a real monster shows up in his town he has to let his dark side out in order to stop it – but without his rules to keep him in check, he might be more dangerous than the monster he’s trying to kill.
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★★★★ review by Leticia Fernandes on Letterboxd
Was that... the Demogorgon
★★★½ review by nathaxnne walker (retired) on Letterboxd
How extra-audible windchimes are in the very cold still air after snowfall (Minnesota Winter)!
PS: I am totally this kid's friend who immediately assumes that werewolves did it. I always assume werewolves are responsible for stuff even in the absence of hard evidence of lycanthropic activity and it isn't because I fear or dislike werewolves. I more or less am a werewolf all of the time anyway and so it makes logical sense to me to attribute stuff to them because I can more easily imagine werewolves doing something like that than what probably happened for real, so I look at something and I am like 'Werewolves Did It!' which makes me a better werewolf than a detective probably? Also I know that the protagonist is probably dressed up like John Wayne Gacy for Halloween but I think he looks like if Tom G Warrior of Celtic Frost had to go out for some reason and the only semi-clean pants there were were clown pajamas. So, yeah, werewolves and black metal, responsible for 95% of the visible world.
★★★½ review by Lucy on Letterboxd
we need to talk about kevin meets alien? wild
★★★★ review by Melissa 🎃 on Letterboxd
He's not a serial killer, he's just emo.
★★★★ review by Ben Hibburd on Letterboxd
I Am Not a Serial Killer is directed by indie filmmaker Billy O'Brian, adapting the first in a series of YA novels by Dan Wells. The film follows a teenage boy by the name of John Wayne Carver (Max Records). John is a social outcast, When he's not a school obsessing about serial killers with his only friend, he spends the rest of his day helping out at his mothers family run morgue.
John believes he's a sociopath with the potential to commit homicide. However he doesn't want to cross that moral line so he imposes strict rules upon himself (a la Dexter) to keep himself from slipping. All is going well for the most part, that is until a serial killer turns up in his neighbourhood.
With the thoughts and feelings of a killer, John decides to seek out the person(s) responsible for the deaths. I Am Not a Serial Killer is a film that when it works; it works. And I really enjoyed this film, it has a wonderful sense of tone and atmosphere. Shot on 16mm it retains a grim and grainy independent feel that matches the emptiness and lack of empathy the protagonist feels.
The script is filled with moments of hilarious jet black comedy that are played completely straight by the actors, making the laughs stand out even more-so. The script also does a wonderful job of exploring its characters, through-out the film we get to know what they are about, whilst holding onto the mysterious nature of the films serial killer.
The performances throughout this film are fantastic, Max Records and Christopher Lloyd in particular are given ample screen-time to deliver memorable performances.
The film is also able to effortlessly switch between different genres especially in the third act, something that could've easily lost its viewers. But for the most part the film handles it with care, so that it never came across as goofy. Where the film lost me slightly, was in the finale there's a sense of pointlessness about the films ending. Things wrap up to neatly, and pretty much everything goes back to normal (for the most part).
With that being said there's a lot to enjoy about this film, there are some excellent make-up/visual effects, there's darkly delicious humour and the characters are engaging and are properly developed. The film lives in its own little bubble (much like the town it's set in) and once you pierce through the films bleak exterior, there's a delightfully macabre and mysterious tale waiting for you in the centre.
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