5.6/10
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How to Be a Serial Killer (2008)

A serial killer decides to teach the secrets of his satisfying career to a video store clerk.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Bart
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Narrator (voice)
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Thug #1 (as Ryan K. Smith)
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Rob
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Storyline

A serial killer decides to teach the secrets of his satisfying career to a video store clerk.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, grisly images and language | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

15 November 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Apla mathimata gia epidoxous dolofonous  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$899 (USA) (24 July 2009)

Gross:

$899 (USA) (24 July 2009)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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(European Film Market)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

Mike and Bart are sitting in the car preparing for their next action. Mike wants to put a camera on his head and he flaps down the sun visor to see himself in the mirror. But he gets distracted by telling Bart some trivia about the camera. After that there is a cut in cinematography and he flaps the sun visor down again. See more »

Connections

References Powder (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Black Comedy With Serious Message
7 December 2011 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Offbeat and mostly satirical, this film gets off to a great start and ends with a bang. But the script has a somewhat weak middle section. With gusto, and dressed mostly in black, cocky motivational speaker Mike Wilson (Dameon Clarke) appears on a dark stage and presents us with his "ten easy lessons" on how to get more out of life by being a serial killer.

A narrator begins the TV infomercial. "Is it hard for you to get up in the morning? ... Well don't despair, because Mike Wilson can help you. Mike's unique formula has helped millions of people ... Since becoming a serial killer, Mike has achieved a level of success ... he never thought possible. And now he's going to share his secrets with you in this amazing life-changing seminar". Marvelous.

The plot alternates between Mike's on-stage lessons and his field experience mentoring a young nerdy-looking video store clerk, Bart (Matthew Gubler). Together, as buddies, they excise a number of people whom they take a disliking to. Trouble is, their victims don't really deserve their fate. I would have preferred people who really measured up: a Wall Street swindler, some crooked politician, a rapist, a CEO whose company products hurt innocent people, for example.

At various points in the plot, a psychiatrist, who talks directly to viewers, imparts some legit background information on serial killers. Which contrasts nicely with Mike's false "perception is reality" creed.

I like this film less for its comedy (though the beginning is funny) than for its originality and thematic depth. Clarke and Gubler are well cast; and their performances are fine. A digital, high-definition camcorder captures the visuals; and with characters occasionally breaking the fourth wall, the film conveys a documentary look and feel.

Most of the film is satirical and meant as black comedy. But in the final few minutes the film turns serious, as it communicates a profound sense of fatalism, by way of an amazingly potent rendition of an old gospel hymn and the stark visuals of a man entrapped by delusion.


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