On August 26th IFC Midnight Films will release on VOD and select theaters “I am Not A Serial Killer”, an interesting thriller that was making quite a buzz on its festivals screenings such as “Fantasia 2016″, and that is based on the first novel from a saga written by Dan Wells… But what is all that jazz about?
I think most of us can agree that being a teenager was not that easy, and if to that mess you add having a fascination with corpses and serial killers, even when you say is just due scientific curiosity, like in the case of John Wayne Cleaver, things can be even more complicated (let alone that you almost have the name of a serial killer, and that your family business is a funeral home). Hence for some time, John has been following a set of self imposed rules that might allow him to pass unnoticed or a least as a «normal» teenager in his community, even when his therapist is just two steps away of declaring him a sociopath and that his family is sure that sooner that later he will end up in a padded room or behind bars.
At the same time that John struggles with the temptation of applying a final solution to the issue with the bullies at school, a series of murders start occurring in his normally quiet town, hinting that this might be the work a very peculiar serial killer. Yielding to his morbid fascination, John starts looking for clues that can help him to identify the killer, but this will not only strain the relation with his family, it will also put their lives in danger, since the killer might be closer that he thinks, and be even way more dangerous that the killers that John has studied all those years.
“I Am Not A Serial Killer” might sound like an updated version of Stephen King’s story “The Apt Pupil” but I assure you that the similarities are limited just to the basic premise, and I would even dare to say they are not that similar. Contrary to the main character in “The Apt Pupil”, we can empathize with John without the plot resorting to an emotional blackmail or making him a victim of circumstances, even when he has hundreds of eyes upon him, judging whatever he does, and with pretty much no moral support besides a elderly couple consisting of Mr Crowley and his wife. When John finds the person responsible of the murders we can see that far from trying to keep the secret and just trying to imitate the killer, he actually tries to stop the killings (and failing miserably) despite of still feeling curiosity for the killer’s motives and methods.
The film has very good pacing, never felt boring, had a couple of twist that I found interesting, and although we don’t get much back story of the killer itself, the movie actually gives enough answers to make that character and its nature interesting (I’m trying to avoid spoilers as much as I can here). I thought the acting was good, and the chemistry between the two main actors worked very well. There are very few special effects that I can remember, but they were also very good, there were several memorable scenes that makes the film worth watching more than once (they are details that you might miss the first time around). I liked the story so much that I already started looking for the other books about John Wayne Cleaver, just in case that we don’t get a sequel to this film.
The film was directed by Billy O’Brien (Isolation, The Hybrid) and co-written with Christopher Hyde. In the cast we have Max Records (“Where the Wild Things Are”) as the main character John, Christopher Lloyd (the beloved Dr Brown on the “Back To The Future” trilogy) as Mr Crowley and Laura Fraser ( the cold, calculating Lidia Rodarte in “Breaking Bad”).
“I Am not A Serial Killer” will be released on VOD and select theaters on August 26th, by IFC Midnight Films.