Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Film Review: I Am Not A Serial Killer (2016)

I Am Not A Serial Killer (Review)
Ireland/United Kingdom/2016
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It's a dark, disturbing, and creative horror-thriller."

A troubled teenager with homicidal tendencies hunts a serial killer who may have supernatural abilities.

I Am Not A Serial Killer follows John Wayne Cleaver (Max Records), a teenager in a small Midwestern town. John is not a normal teenager, though. He is attracted to the macabre and he has homicidal thoughts. He uses a set of rules to stop himself from killing, though. However, when extremely violent murders start occurring in his town, John's inner demons begin to surface. In order to stop himself, he attempts to stop the serial killer, who may be a menacing creature. I don't want to spoil anything. This is one of those films that really catches you off guard if you go in blind. The plot works on multiple levels. However, I didn't feel like the ending resonated. It's original, it's outlandish, but it's just not very effective.

I really enjoyed I Am Not A Serial Killer. The first half of the film offers an interesting look at a troubled teenager. John isn't exactly a serial killer, but he shows all the predictive signs of one. This made him a very compelling character. And, since the character is so dark, the film, in turn, has a grim atmosphere. It feels like a chilling film—with a pinch of black humor here and there. The second half of the film might be a bit polarizing. The second half remains interesting and entertaining, but the mood drastically shifts. It has more of a supernatural vibe. Instead of something dark and disturbing like Jack Ketchum, it feels like something Stephen King would write. Obviously, that's not a bad thing. The shift in tone is just jarring and it leads to some underwhelming surprises.

The acting was great, though. Max Records performs well as the leading man. Christopher Lloyd was also great. The supporting cast was strong, too. The film looked good. The subtle music matched the tone of the film. There are some mediocre computer effects that sort of take you out of the experience, but those are fortunately limited to a few scenes. The film was written by Billy O'Brien and Christopher Hyde; O'Brien also serves as director. I thought the writing and direction were fine. I think its twist might split some audiences, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's bad. The splendid focus on character, especially John Wayne Cleaver, is worth noting.

Overall, I Am Not a Serial Killer is a great film. This is not a film for everyone, but I enjoyed it. It's a dark, disturbing, and creative horror-thriller. It loses some of its impact during the second half, but it's definitely original. If you're an open-minded viewer and you like the genre, I think you'll enjoy this one.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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