John Cleaver is a bullied teenager working at the family funeral home in Clayton, a small midwestern town. He walks around in a perpetual state of melancholy and has only one friend. He is diagnosed as a sociopath and exhibits characteristics common among adult serial killers. He has a fascination with famous serial killers. He has homicidal thoughts and lives by a code to keep living a normal life.
When Clayton has it’s first murder in as long as anyone can remember, John is fascinated by the case. As he tries to profile the killer and delves deeper into the killer’s habits he is forced confront a number of demons; not only the killer’s but also his own.
John may sound like a psycho but instead, he is an endearing character wrestling with his condition and the general anxiety of being a teenage boy growing up in a small town where everyone knows each other. The “Dexter in training” comments are overused. This is a very original story.
The acting from Max Records as John and the rest of the cast is top-notch. Christopher Lloyd is amazing, as always. The town of Clayton resembles every other midwestern town you may have ever visited, including the more depressed neighborhoods typically not shown in movies or on television. The atmosphere is appropriate for the paranoia that sets in. The behavior of the town changes as the holiday season mood shifts from friendly and upbeat to sad and angry. The streets become desolate.
An over-the-top tv news reporter makes a few appearances with updates throughout the investigation. He is fairly entertaining because he is so excited about the killing. It is easy to picture a small market reporter putting the story on his resume reel as he pursues his dream of jumping to the network. We do not get any other glimpse into the police investigation. That keeps our point of view mirroring John’s, though.
The gore is minimal and the killing is fairly discreet, for lack of a better word. That takes nothing away from this film.
I Am Not a Serial Killer is a stellar story to be appreciated by any horror, thriller or mystery fan.
TRT: 104 minutes
Final Cut 46 (92%)
Side note: Look closely at the photos in the VFW scene. If you recognize anyone other than the main actor highlighted in the shot, please let us know. There is something oddly familiar about the picture to the right of the actor but we have not been able to ID. –Rick