Video On Demand: I Am Not A Serial Killer (2016) - Reviewed

New on VOD and distributed by IFC Midnight is the psychological thriller I Am Not a Serial Killer, which manages to cross over into multiple genres. If you like 1980’s cinema and the new phenomena that is Stranger Things, then you may want to watch this rather engrossing mix of styles that matches the likes of Stephen King, John Carpenter, The Hidden (1987), and Henry: The Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986). The story involves the sociopathic teen named John Wayne Cleaver (Max Records) who becomes obsessed with tracking down a local serial killer, only to discover a secret even more dark and unusual than he could have suspected. 

The plot does a superb job of drawing you in once you know the truth and keeping you completely engaged right up until the end. The dialogue for the main character is fantastic and it has a decent amount of dark humor tossed in. It focuses a great deal on his psychology and trying to prevent himself from becoming a serial killer, while at the same time battling the opposing evil that is in his town.  The screenplay is based upon a novel written by Dan Wells.

The cast all do a fine job, but most of the characters are rather one dimensional. The main focus is on John and the old man next door neighbor named Crowley (Christopher Lloyd). Records is excellent as the lead teen, we witness a great deal of range as he shows his obsessions and vast knowledge of serial killers, his psychotic potential, his rage, and fear during intense situations. Lloyd has played strange and peculiar before, but never has he been this terrifying.

I am not a bunny rabbit. 

The direction is well done and we get some good close up shots and some nice light and shadows in various sequences. The cinematography isn’t going to blow anyone away, but it works for this one. They use a series of quick visuals, imagery, and noises to further mess with the psychology of the main character and create some additional tension for the viewers. The score is outstanding and definitely 1980’s inspired. While there are some rocks songs mixed in, it’s mostly a synthesized score that is reminiscent of the music from the Phantasm series.

Despite being labeled a psychological thriller, you will quickly realize as the movie moves near the second act that this is a combination of multiple genres.

If you’re a fan of any of the above, then you won’t want to miss out on this uniquely bizarre motion picture.

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- Raul Vantassle