I Am Not a Serial Killer movie full length review - So Fresh, So Good
In a small Midwestern town, a troubled teen with homicidal tendencies (Max Records) must hunt down and destroy a supernatural killer whilst keeping his own inner demons at bay.
For director Billy O'Brien, "I am Not a Serial Killer" was something of a passion project. He came on strong with "Isolation", a film praised heavily by legendary award-winning columnist Jon Kitley. When Kitley spoke with O'Brien at that time, he already wanted to adapt the novel. Even more amazingly, he knew exactly who he wanted to play the lead ? Max Records. His wish was granted, and now that the film is made we can all see what O'Brien saw in Records. He is the perfect misfit.
And this is a triumphant coup for O'Brien. After "Isolation", he wandered a bit. "Ferocious Planet" (2011) was a bit of a dud, though we can write that off as what happens when you're working for SyFy. "Scintilla" (2014, also known as "The Hybrid") was a bit better received, but still failed to wow audiences. With "Serial Killer", we have a clear home run that will be loved by both critics and moviegoers alike. If the film only receives a limited rather than wide release, that would be a shame.
We have a bit of a murder mystery, though the killer is (apparently) discovered by the halfway point. We have a bit of a slasher, though the movie tends to have more gore in its mortuary scenes than in its kills. But perhaps most interesting is the lead: is he a serial killer, or will he become one? He is fascinated by serial murder, he has all the psychological signs. His doctor has even diagnosed him as a sociopath. There is a possibility that the small town murders are his doing and he has created a scapegoat in his mind.
A word on Christopher Lloyd. He features prominently in the film's trailer, and it would not be surprising if he is used in other marketing. Lloyd is, after all, a bankable actor. But more than that, this film allows him a wide range in ways you've never seen him before. Yes, he had an impressive debut as a mental patient in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". Yes, he is lovably goofy in "Back to the Future". And yes, he is a murderous creep in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit". But this may be a role for him that rivals any of those.
There are some creature effects from Toby Froud, which look amazing, but the less said about that the better. You do not want any spoilers. What O'Brien has crafted here is one of the best darn films of 2016 ? not just horror, but any genre. And, as a bonus, he has convinced at least one viewer to read the novel.