Ben Hibburd’s review published on Letterboxd:
I Am Not a Serial Killer is directed by indie filmmaker Billy O'Brian, adapting the first in a series of YA novels by Dan Wells. The film follows a teenage boy by the name of John Wayne Carver (Max Records). John is a social outcast, When he's not a school obsessing about serial killers with his only friend, he spends the rest of his day helping out at his mothers family run morgue.
John believes he's a sociopath with the potential to commit homicide. However he doesn't want to cross that moral line so he imposes strict rules upon himself (a la Dexter) to keep himself from slipping. All is going well for the most part, that is until a serial killer turns up in his neighbourhood.
With the thoughts and feelings of a killer, John decides to seek out the person(s) responsible for the deaths. I Am Not a Serial Killer is a film that when it works; it works. And I really enjoyed this film, it has a wonderful sense of tone and atmosphere. Shot on 16mm it retains a grim and grainy independent feel that matches the emptiness and lack of empathy the protagonist feels.
The script is filled with moments of hilarious jet black comedy that are played completely straight by the actors, making the laughs stand out even more-so. The script also does a wonderful job of exploring its characters, through-out the film we get to know what they are about, whilst holding onto the mysterious nature of the films serial killer.
The performances throughout this film are fantastic, Max Records and Christopher Lloyd in particular are given ample screen-time to deliver memorable performances.
The film is also able to effortlessly switch between different genres especially in the third act, something that could've easily lost its viewers. But for the most part the film handles it with care, so that it never came across as goofy. Where the film lost me slightly, was in the finale there's a sense of pointlessness about the films ending. Things wrap up to neatly, and pretty much everything goes back to normal (for the most part).
With that being said there's a lot to enjoy about this film, there are some excellent make-up/visual effects, there's darkly delicious humour and the characters are engaging and are properly developed. The film lives in its own little bubble (much like the town it's set in) and once you pierce through the films bleak exterior, there's a delightfully macabre and mysterious tale waiting for you in the centre.