I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016)
Directed by Billy O’Brien
If you would have told me that the bratty, violent little boy from 2009’s “Where the Wild Things Are” would grow up to become a diagnosed homicidal sociopath, I would have definitely believed you. So when “I Am Not a Serial Killer” cast Max Records, now 19, in the role of a troubled funeral home attendant with thoughts of murder, it was an instant stroke of genius. But it was far from the only thing the crazy-cool murder mystery got right.
After a series of murdered bodies come through his family’s funeral home with parts missing, John Wayne Cleaver (Max Records), a loner high school student obsessed with serial killers, begins piecing together a potential profile of the killer. But John’s mom (Laura Fraser) and his therapist (Karl Geary) are worried by his excitement over the details of the massacres. One day, while John spies on his neighbor, Mr. Crowley (Christopher Lloyd), he sees more than he bargains for…but it only makes his interest in the case grow stronger. So instead of going to the police, John decides to try to solve this crime himself—which, of course, gets him in way over his head.
After appearing in only one movie since “Where the Wild Things Are” (2011’s “The Sitter”), Max Records is back and acting like he’s been doing it way more often than he has. In his performance—cynical and dark and charismatic all at once—Records nails the genre-defying role of the amateur sleuth. Christopher Lloyd hasn’t been around much lately himself, at least nothing you’ve probably seen, but he’s surprisingly effective in a serious, brooding role. “I Am Not a Serial Killer” is bound to make him a new cult favorite.
“I Am Not a Serial Killer” is a brilliantly unconventional thriller with an ‘80s synth score and a realistic, but also otherworldly, monster—not unlike “Stranger Things.” If it’s late at night and you want a brainless (pun intended) and fun-scary flick to help you get ready for bed (and fear the monsters lurking outside your window), 2016 has offered few movies as entertaining as “I Am Not a Serial Killer.” Just don’t take it too seriously—it sure doesn’t.