I Am Not a Serial Killer
Director: Billy O’Brien
Writer: Billy O’Brien,Christopher Hyde
Based on: Dan Wells‘ novel
Cast: Max Records, Christopher Lloyd, Laura Fraser, Christina Baldwin, Karl Geary
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 27.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]
John (Max Records) isn’t your typical teenager. Not only does his family – that is his mother April (Laura Fraser) and his aunt Margaret (Christina Baldwin) – run the local funeral home and John loves to help out there with the dead bodies, he was also diagnosed with sociopathy, so he’s constantly worrying that he might end up being the serial killer sociopaths in movies always turn out to be. But then John comes to believe that an actual serial killer has come to John’s hometown and since nobody believes him, he will have to actually hunt him down.
I Am Not a Serial Killer was one of my favorites of the /slash this year. It’s a film filled with surprising perspectives on old tropes and really great characters, played by a wonderful cast.
I Am Not a Serial Killer takes a supernatural turn, and it’s one of the films where I’m a little torn about whether that’s actually necessary. In this case, I think I would have liked the film without monsters as well, but I didn’t mind that it was there. The central thing for me, though, was the premise of a diagnosed sociopath and how they can figure out what that means in a world where sociopathy seems to be portrayed only as automatically conflated with endless violence. Or maybe he isn’t a sociopath at all?
That this worked so well for me was definitely in large part due to Max Records who delivers an absolutely fantastic performance, more than delivering on the promise he showed in Where the Wild Things Are. And Christopher Lloyd is a worthy counterplayer, both strengthening each other’s performances.
The mood for the film is not only set by the excellent production design, but also by the stunning organ soundtrack that impressed me a lot and that fits the story perfectly.
The films many strengths make it easy to overlook the few weaknesses it does have – once more we get a movie therapist who seems to have no sense for the ethics of the job which is annoying as hell and the film does have a couple of lenghts, although nothing major. I very much regret not knowing the book this is based on – something I hope to rectify soon. In the meantime, I can only recommend watching this film.