It honestly doesn't happen too often that I fancy thrillers/horror movies that are deliberately slow-paced and proudly refer to themselves as being black comedies and/or social satires, but "I Am Not A Serial Killer" is clearly an exception and I really did love this film! There's nothing too extraordinary innovative about the settings, character drawings or even the story line(s), but the overall tone and atmosphere of the film is so damn bleak and moody that it almost becomes mesmerizing. From his 2005 debut feature "Isolation", we already knew that Irish bloke Billy O'Brien is a talented director, but for some strange reason it apparently took him another eleven years to come up with his next great movie. But here it is, a solid adaptation of Dan Wells' undoubtedly terrific novel (haven't read it yet) with formidable performances from a stellar cast and an absorbing dark ambiance. The story is set in a typically remote little town called Clayton somewhere in a Northwestern State – Minnesota, I think – where it gets damn cold, depressing and snowy during the winter months. 16-year-old John Wayne Cleaver is heavily struggling with his inner demons. He's the type of kid who gets bullied at school because he's introvert, peculiar and obsessed with death. His obsession might have something to do with the fact that his mother runs a funeral home, but John is also strongly convinced that – whether or not reluctantly – he will someday become history's most notorious serial killer. When people suddenly start disappearing and strange accidents occur all over town, John naturally becomes fascinated with the idea of discovering who is responsible for these acts and follow him/her around. He quickly develops a connection with his friendly and elderly, but nevertheless mysterious neighbor Mr. Crowley. The least you can say about "I Am Not A Serial Killer" is that it's a non-conventional horror movie, or – to put it in marketing terms – a horror movie that thinks out-of-the- box and also invites the viewer to step out of his/her comfort zone. The biggest trump of this film is undoubtedly that it doesn't rely on gory effects or jump scares. Don't be alarmed yet, gorehouds, as there ARE gory effects and there ARE jump scares, there just isn't any exaggerated focus or building up towards to. Instead, "I Am Not A Serial Killer" serves an intelligent screenplay full of ambiguities and flirts with the supernatural. Countless of horror stories, whether big-budgeted or shoestring, are set in small American towns, but very few of them capture the atmosphere and people portrayals so accurately as this one. That's particularly praiseworthy because director O'Brien is Irish! The acting performances are downright fantastic, with a seriously strong role for young Max Records as the offbeat and narcissist teenager John Wayne Cleaver. And then there's Christopher Lloyd I really love this actor! Lloyd makes every film that he appears in extra macabre! Whether he appears in a drama (like "The Onion Field" or "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest"), in dark comedies (like "The Addams Family" or "Who Framed Roger Rabbit") or even in a kid's movie (like "Dennis the Menace"), Christopher Lloyd always depicts a wondrously morbid character. His role here is one of the finest of his career.
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