I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016) Review: A Creepy Gimmick
“This is a story about a boy who can’t love, fighting a monster who kills for love.”
Synopsis: In a small Midwestern town, a troubled teen with homicidal tendencies must hunt down and destroy a supernatural killer while keeping his own inner demons at bay.
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Ludwig von Stroodle:
This is a very strange movie. The hero is a teenage sociopath who works in the family morgue, while the monster has the sweetest motivation for killing his victims. Definitely not your average plot.
I Am Not a Serial Killer is a little on the slow side, and main character John (Max Records) isn’t quite interesting enough to carry the film prior to the monster reveal. Meanwhile, Christopher Lloyd‘s character is an unsettling mix of adorable and creepy, which he pulls off quite well. His performance is much more subdued than usual (i.e., don’t expect the insane fish conspiracy nut from Piranha 3D) but it fits the somber tone of the movie.
Special effects are used sparingly for most of the film, but when used, they appear pretty realistic. (I think they must have used real meat for some of the gore). The one exception to that is at the end, where the filmmakers used terrible, SyFy-quality CGI to show the monster in its true form. It might not be the worst CGI ever, but it didn’t fit with the tone of the movie at all. Everything up to that point had felt gritty and real (for a horror movie at least), and relied entirely almost entirely on the acting. It sucks that the filmmakers ruined it right at the end with laughably bad, cringe-worthy scene.
The hero being a sociopath sounded like it could be interesting, but ended up feeling more like a gimmick. Like other stories featuring sociopaths as main characters (cough…Dexter…cough), John’s motivation sometimes seems inconsistent with the lack of empathy, amorality, and detachment he’s supposed to be afflicted with. His condition didn’t really contribute much, and it raised a lot of questions that distracted me from the movie. Like, do therapists usually just outright tell kids they’re sociopaths and say “try not to murder anybody”? Because that’s pretty much what happens here. You also have to wonder what kind of parent allows their angsty teenage sociopath to work in their funeral home.
In the end, I Am Not a Serial Killer was more thriller than horror, with a good amount of angsty teenage drama thrown in. It was an interesting movie; I don’t mind having watched it, but I probably wouldn’t watch it again.
Ludwig von Stroodle’s Rating: C+
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