Every Town Has Its Monsters
Don’t let the title put you off. Offbeat horror movie I Am Not a Serial Killer, based on the cult YA novel by Dan Wells, is as much a subtle psychological drama as it is a gory chiller. Indeed, the film’s troubled adolescent protagonist is a fascinating, perplexing figure in his own right.
Sixteen-year-old John Wayne Cleaver (Max Records, the boy in 2009’s Where the Wild Things Are), has a morbid interest in dead bodies, both the corpses featuring in true crime stories and the ones popping up in the embalming room of the family funeral parlour run by his single mother (Laura Fraser).
If that didn’t make him strange enough, he is also a diagnosed sociopath, who finds it hard to form emotional attachments and struggles to curb his aggressive impulses. However, his homicidal leanings make him an effective sleuth when a serial killer begins preying on the inhabitants of his chilly Minnesota hometown.
Irish director Billy O’Brien’s film has a few shocks in store, not to mention a streak of dark comedy. But the biggest surprise is how sympathetic its anti-social hero should turn out to be, thanks in large part to Records’ remarkably nuanced performance. At the other end of the age spectrum, Christopher Lloyd is terrific, too, as John’s mysterious geriatric neighbour.
Certificate 15. Runtime 103 mins. Director Billy O'Brien
I Am Not a Serial Killer debuts on Sky Cinema Premiere on Thursday 20 July. Available on Blu-ray & DVD from Bulldog Films.
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A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.
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