Now Streaming: The Notorious Finster (2024) - Reviewed


Images Courtesy of Cranked Up

Cooper and Robert Hendersen's debut feature film is an interesting, if somewhat predictable entry into the serial killer cinematic subgenre.  While the bulk of films that deal with this subject are cheap knock offs, the Hendersen brothers’ avoid cliché pitfalls by taking a unique approach: Focusing on the power of addiction, the futility of criminal investigators, and some rather disturbing concepts, this film is elevated by the commitment of its cast and crew and by being unafraid to make some bold narrative choices.   Featuring a powerful lead performance, gruesome kill sequences, and a shocking finale, The Notorious Finster is a solid thriller. 

 An alcoholic reporter who covered a prolific serial killer moves with her husband to a small country town in an effort to heal and to forget the horrors of her past.  When the killings begin again, she is forced to confront not only the demons of her addictions, but the nightmares of her reality.  Robert Hendersen's script is fairly minimal, using familiar tropes to propel the action towards a predisposed conclusion that for the most part works, despite some controversial choices. Mandy Evans stars as Annie Sullivan, a haunted reporter who is searching for sobriety amidst many changes and revelations. Britton Webb supports as her husband Roger and their chemistry has a duality that makes their relationship interesting as the story unfolds.  Legendary character actor Brian Anthony Wilson has a sorrowful turn as a dedicated detective while Lindsay Corriveau steals the limelight as Annie's fellow alcoholic and confidant.  

Ryan Bedell and Jason Henne's economical cinematography is the sharpest aspect, using deft techniques to hide expected budget constraints, flooding the optics with dark, warm colors while framing the natural beauty of the environs.   The aftermath of each murder is extremely horrific, coupled with a prelude of desperate phone calls that make each killing have an unexpected emotional impact that only enhances the entire experience. The result is a story that treads familiar ground while also creating some rather potent dilemmas, the solutions to which will be divisive.

Now available for rental via digital on demand, The Notorious Finster is a stereotypical story with a few surprising twists.  Light on gore and heavy on implied violence, this is more Hallmark than Criminal Minds, focusing more on familial drama with an extremely controversial final act.  Fans of more traditional serial killer stories may be disappointed while viewers looking for a fresh spin on overused material may be enticed.  Regardless, Finster is a memorable addition to the genre. 

--Kyle Jonathan