There are three qualities possessed by the majority of serial killers: enuresis (bed-wetting), arson, and cruelty to animals. Psychologists call this the “MacDonald triad.” It is possible to still be prone to committing murder if two out of three are in existence, but to have all three means an almost inevitable fate. John Wayne Cleaver has all three traits but with the help of his therapist and a list of strict rules that he has set for himself, he is determined to conquer his sociopathy.
Directed by Billy O’Brien, I Am Not A Serial Killer has been making a big splatter at film festivals around the world such as South by Southwest and the Fantasia International Film Festival. The film stars Karl Geary (Hamlet), Breaking Bad’s Laura Fraser, and Max Records, a new star who will hopefully continue to leave a firm mark on the talent map. Of course, acting alongside Records, it is impossible to ignore the dark yet kooky performance by the iconic Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future).
One of the most striking of I Am Not A Serial Killer is its use of music to liven the stagnant atmosphere of a Midwestern funeral home. The sounds of a base ticking along with the dial of an embalming machine, oddly upbeat lyrics centered around the afterlife, and the humming of Donovan’s “Hurdy Gurdy Man” that has nearly become a requirement of the serial killer genre film. This is a film that chooses its sounds as wisely as its uncomfortable silences.
Filled with twists and turns, this journey through the mind of a sociopath is riveting, wildly intelligent, and poetic. As we follow John Cleaver and his neighbor Bill Crowley (Christopher Lloyd), mental illness is portrayed in an all-too-real manner, as the embodiment of a monster within man with sometimes uncontrollable instincts. Unlike many unfortunate cases of sociopathy, John Cleaver learns what makes his monster tick in the hopes of stopping himself from taking a life… or a kidney… or a heart.
If you are looking for an eye-opening film about killer instincts and those who suffer from them, I Am Not A Serial Killer will be released in select theaters and on VOD on August 26th.