I Am Not a Serial Killer review by Adrijan Arsovski - Cinema Paradiso
I Am Not a Serial Killer is fresh, entertaining, whilst also managing to be a deliberately slowly-paced film. This serves two purposes for the film, it builds up necessary tension (without this tension, the payoff would’ve probably faltered), and it provides an excellent tonal shift for the second half to pick up where the first one left. In fact, I Am Not a Serial Killer is a well-made cinematic experience that’s worth sticking with it until its very end (where all hell breaks loose). When I come to think of it, I Am Not a Serial Killer may very-well be the most original thriller in the last decade or so full stop. Now onto the review.
The film is directed by Billy O'Brien and penned by both O'Brien and Christopher Hyde. It’s set in a semi-rural town in the Minnesotan Midwest, where a series of gruesome murder shake the already paranoid community to their cores. Now the residents are terrified, and their only hope lies in an unlikely anti-hero, the high-school misfit going by the name of John Wayne Cleaver (played by Max Records). This teenager has a strange obsession with serial killers which is oddly apparent via his, unfortunate bully-friendly, name. And so, the vicissitudes begin and next thing you know, Cleaver is investigating both a senile and charming old man named Mr. Crowley (played by none other than acting legend Christopher Lloyd). Saying more would inevitably lead to spoilers, so I would rather keep my mouth tightly shut.
In regards to atmosphere, I Am Not a Serial Killer knocks it right out of the ballpark; the film carries that eerily feeling that something in the town is deeply wrong, a feeling from which stems an anticipatory tension that ends up – you guessed it – with a twist. Despite all of that being said though, this offering does not rely on the ol’ switcheroo, but it rather bothers enough to explore the different motivations behind each major character and how they’ll go about it; in the end, I Am Not a Serial Killer is a film of characters and it this light, it does its job almost flawlessly. Despite all of that however, it is not without its fair share of flaws.
Which are mostly found in the editing, some of the musical choices that were made, and the unnecessary introduction of some computer generated imagery that felt like being out of place.
Overall however, I Am Not a Serial Killer is a film that would make you cringe, gag, flex, and recoil away in terror all at once. Or none at all, depending on your mood and personal preference. Either way, one thing is for certain: Billy O'Brien’s piece would not leave you indifferent in the least.