Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer ★★★½

Dispassionate, bone-deep chills. A totally nihilistic portrait of serial evil, whose mental poverty is mirrored in a squalid home life utterly devoid of any Hollywood glamorization.

Occasionally, its pitiless docu-drama reality and unbearable intimacy are ruptured by horror stinger music, almost as if the film is apologizing for what it's putting the viewer through and reminding you it's only a movie.

Scenes of Henry stalking his victims (and sometimes deciding against it) echo almost thirty years earlier, the unpolished visual strategies of Under the Skin, while incredibly graphic violence and crime scene photo gore is remarkably effective on a barebones budget.

Maybe most disturbing of all though, is the way the camera glides so gracefully through grotty tableaux of snuffed human life; images that instantly sear themselves into your memory of the film and refuse to fade.

Michael Rooker's incredible dive into remorseless depravity is more than matched by the warped incestual discord and unsettling desperation of his brother-sister housemates played by Tom Towles and Tracy Arnold; one an unconscionable, disgusting monster, the other a severely damaged and destitute innocent who gives herself over to her dark side for lack of any alternative.

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