Horror Movie Review: I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016)

“I’ve been clinically diagnosed with sociopathy, Rob. To me you are an object. You know, you’re a thing. You are about as important to me as a cardboard box and the thing about cardboard boxes is that they are totally boring on the outside right? But, sometimes when you cut them open, they’ll be something interesting inside. And so when you are saying all these boring things to me, I’m thinking about what it would be like to cut you open. But I don’t wanna be that person. And so I have a rule that anytime somebody says something to me where I think about, you know, cutting them, I just smile and say something nice. So that’s why I say to you, Rob Anders, of 232 Carnation Street, you are a REALLY GREAT GUY.”

I Am Not a Serial Killer is a 2016 Irish-British psychological horror film directed by Billy O’Brien and based on Dan Wells’ 2009 novel of the same name.

John Wayne Cleaver (Max Records), a teenager in a small Midwestern town, has been diagnosed as a sociopath and suffers homicidal impulses. These are exacerbated by working at his mother April’s funeral home. He controls his urges with rules, mental stopgaps, and speaking to his therapist Grant.

A spate of murders has begun in his town and being homicidal himself, naturally John takes an interest. At the scene of our first murder of the movie, John sees a puddle of black oil. It’s speculated it could be oil from a chainsaw.

After an identical murder, talk of a serial killer piques John’s interest even more and he begins making a profile of the killer. After these series of killings, the neighbourhood is running on fear but nonetheless Halloween still goes ahead. While out trick-or-treating with his friend Max – under the careful protection of Max’s father, John spots a drifter suspiciously lurking outside his neighbour Bill Crowley’s house. At the high-school Halloween dance, John scares off a bully by threatening to kill him, in the politest way a sociopath could.

After discussing this with Grant, John sees the drifter join Crowley on an ice fishing trip, and John follows them. He watches from the treeline as the two figures walk out onto the ice.. Crowley turns his back and the drifter revs up the chainsaw seemingly about to cut a hole in the ice. As the drifter gets closer and is about to attack Crowley, Crowley suddenly kills the man with his bare hand, which morphs into a branch-like shape. Crowley cuts out his own lungs and replaces them with the man’s.

John creates a serial killer profile, noting every victim had organs removed. While following Crowley and his wife, Kay, on their date night, he comes across his mother and Grant having dinner, upsetting John. John studies fairytales and mystic folklore, and the police connect the recent murders to a missing person named Emmett Openshaw.

What is going on with Mr Crowley? How will all this affect John’s homicidal urges? Watch and find out.

I Am Not a Serial Killer is pretty damn unique and not what I expected when I was going into it at all. The movie completely turns the concept on its head and pleasantly surprised me. I Am Not a Serial Killer is a chilling but fascinating watch. I was drawn into the tale and eagerly watched to see the mystery unfold and was very satisfied when the credits rolled.

The acting is superb, Christopher Lloyd plays a hobbly, creepy old man perfectly. I will never watch Back To The Future the same again after this role. Equally, Max Records is great and I very much enjoyed their opposing dynamics (Romantic monster vs Sociopath killer to-be).

The effects were limited and hidden well, you can tell there were budgetary constraints so they saved the absolute best for last and they look awesome when truly on display. Due to budgetary constraints I feel there could have been more to give to the overall story but was still satisfied.

Overall, a very unique story, with all the black humour and chills a movie of its kind requires. If you never thought you could find Doc Brown scary then take a peek behind this curtain and find out.


  • Sally Powell

    Editor/Writer - Stay at home mum educating the horror minds of tomorrow. If it's got vampires or Nicolas Cage in it, I'm sold. Found cleaning bums or kicking ass in an RPG. (And occasionally here reviewing all things horror and gaming related!)

I Am Not a Serial Killer
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