From director Billy O’Brien (Isolation) and adapted from the novel by Dan Wells, comes the dark horror drama I Am Not a Serial Killer. Starring Max Records, Christopher Lloyd, Laura Fraser and Karl Geary, the film is now playing in limited theaters but is also available on VOD.
A troubled teen with homicidal tendencies has to hunt down and destroy a supernatural killer while suppressing his own inner demons.
I did not do my homework before watching Billy O’Brien’s ‘I Am Not a Serial Killer’. I’m actually glad I didn’t however, because it made the reveals even more shocking as the twisted story unfolded… Based on a series of novels (sequel anyone? I hope so) by Dan Wells, the film follows a diagnosed sociopathic teenager played by Max Records (yes the kid from Where The Wild Things Are). Records does a magnificent job here portraying a lonely teen who is obsessed with serial killers, works at the family coroner’s office and winds up trying to investigate a series of grisly murders in his small town.
There’s a line early on when a bully is confronting Records at a Halloween party and he proceeds to explain to him that he’s a sociopath and that the bully is nothing but an object to him. He’s as interesting as a cardboard box, because on the outside he’s nothing, plain and dull. But if he were to cut him open and see what’s on the inside — that’s what would fascinate him. It was the most powerful bit of dialog in the entire film and I frikken loved it. Now that – is how you shut down a jock piece of shit — I’ve never seen words come across as so powerful and creepy like that since American Psycho.
Christopher Lloyd – now, without spoiling too much, plays a pivotal role here in this film. I won’t ruin what he does exactly — but how he does it is tremendous. As you could have probably guessed – he’s the antagonist – it’s obvious dude – you don’t cast Lloyd and not use him in a significant manner. The way Lloyd twists his body, just his profile on the screen is ghoulish in ways that is hard to describe. I don’t know if it’s because the man is damn old or what, but his frail and hunched over frame makes his scenes all the more sinister and really adds to the dread of the movie.
The music, the camera-work, the performances – all top notch. O’Brien has only worked with smaller and low-budget flicks so far, but I think his work here will have him climbing the ladder, even if it is just in the horror genre. The setting in I Am Not a Serial Killer reminded me of my hometown and I love when you have a film that is set in a small town and still FEELS like it’s a smalltown – it’s genuine here and I appreciate that.
Where the film stumbles is in it’s pacing. It’s slow. At times you’ll feel like the movie is truly crawling so when something horrible or violent finally happens, you’re almost hoping for it and I don’t want to get an itch for violence in my horror flick – I want to be surprised by it. I Am Not a Serial Killer doesn’t go for jump scares – ever. The film builds a chilling atmosphere and it lives in that world from beginning to end. You’re never really sure what the hell is going on until the very end – and even then – what the hell was that dude?
The genre bending that I Am Not a Serial Killer feeds on is both a blessing and curse, because it stands apart from your typical slashers and thrillers due to it’s paranormal elements, however there were times when I almost would have preferred a more straight-forward serial killer drama… You don’t get that here – you get the weirdest of the weird and you have to take it. I Am Not a Serial Killer is one helluva offbeat and unusual thriller but it’s one that I had fun watching, even if I wasn’t sure what the hell I was actually seeing at times.