Director: Billy O’Brien
Verdict: Really, really good
I Am Not a Serial Killer is so many things at once. Pitched somewhere between The Thing, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Fargo, and American Psycho, or maybe a better comprison would be Blue Velvet, and to have all of this stuffed into a YA novel adaptation should maybe tell you something about why I’m so excited by I Am Not A Serial Killer.
I Am Not A Serial Killer follows a clinically sociopathic teenager and his facination with a spate of killings in his local, isolated suburban town. Which is where it has that Blue Velvet sense of untold evils infesting the sweet suburbia, although in this film the town he’s in looks much less pristine than Lynch’s. I don’t know if it was shot in Detroit but it certainly looks like it, it looks like Wayward Pines after everything went to shit and then they left it for a few years. The film is alternately scary, thrilling, darkly funny and dramatic. The film starts out looking like something cliche, it has your typical bullies and kids riding along on bikes, but it very quickly changes gears into something much more bad ass. It’s not big and shouty and world saving like the big YA franchises, it’s a small story with real drama and believable and interesting characters.
There is so much to like about this film, it has so many moments that are incredibly striking, and it’s not like they’d just work by themselves they only work because of the drama surrounding them, and the last act of this film is just incredible. It is a character study of a young sociopath, and given my experience with these types in the past, I found its attempts, not necessarily to humanise, but to dimentionalise that type of person really interesting, and the central performance by Max Records, (Where the Wild Things Are, The Brothers Bloom), is incredible, although maybe the more eye catching performance goes to Christopher Lloyd, (thankfully not Foodfight! Christopher Lloyd but good Christopher Lloyd), Max Records is great, and really believable. Although maybe the emotional lightning rod is the mother figure played by Laura Fraser, (A Knight’s Tale, Breaking Bad).
The score, by Adrian Johnston, (Kinky Boots, Brideshead Revisited), is incredible. It mixes music and sound mixing and blurs the line between the two disciplines in a way that really helps the sense of unease in the film. The cinematography by Robbie Ryan, (Philomena, Fish Tank, Slow West), is also great, not particularly stylish, not particularly eye catching but it’s still very very good. I was actually spending a lot of the time watching it trying to just see whether he was following any rules of cinematography that I knew of and he wasn’t really, really aiming for a kind of social realism in the way it’s captured to try and counteract the more unswallowable elements of the film.
It must be said the CGI is a bit shit, but it’s a compliment to the film to say that I didn’t really care by the time it showed up.
I’m trying to really hard not to give everything away about this film which is actually really hard, and it’s hindering me really selling how exciting this film is, it’s really good, it’s only showing around my area at the moment in the film festival so maybe wait until it comes out on home viewing because it’s well worth your time.