John Wayne Cleaver is not your average teenager.
He’s a diagnosed sociopath, has homicidal thoughts and sees a therapist.
It’s not helped by the fact his mother April runs a funeral home and he gets to mess around with the bodies.
Welcome to the 2016 horror film I Am Not a Serial Killer, a horror film with a twist.
We won’t reveal what that twist is, suffice to say we certainly didn’t see it coming.
Based on the Dan Wells‘ book of the same name, I Am Not a Serial Killer was directed by Billy O’Brien and stars Christopher Lloyd, Max Records, Laura Fraser and Christina Baldwin.
O’Brien’s other films include the 2005 thriller Isolation.
Sociopath Cleaver is fascinated by death and a series of murders, said to be the work of a serial killer, captures his attention.
Police link the murders to a missing man named Emmett Openshaw.
However, Cleaver believes they are the work of his elderly neighbour Bill Crowley (who is not what he seems).
He begins following the old man around and spying on him.
His detective work pays off when he witnesses Crowley kill a drifter he meets on an ice fishing expedition.
A jealous limping Crowley later kills a barber after the man makes the mistake of dancing with his wife Kay.
Watching the action unfold through the shop window, Cleaver triggers the barbershop alarm bringing a couple of cops to the scene, who Crowley also dispatches quickly.
With each killing, the murderer appears to be rejuvenated, his limp gone.
I Am Not a Serial Killer is an odd, low-key production with a home movie, almost true crime series feel and raucous soundtrack.
Lloyd, 77, when he made the film, is as always entertaining.
He is of course best known as Dr Emmett Brown in the Back to the Future trilogy (1985–1990); and Jim Ignatowski in the comedy series Taxi (1978–1983) — for which he won two Emmys.
Max Records is known for his roles as Max in the film Where the Wild Things Are, for which he won the 2009 Young Artist Award for Best Leading Young Actor in a Feature Film.
The director wanted the young actor for the role of Cleaver after seeing him in Where the Wild Things Are.
Cleaver’s mother April is played by Scottish actress Laura Fraser, known for her alabaster complexion and the ability to speak with a flawless American accent.
She has appeared in numerous film and TV roles, including Door in the urban fantasy series Neverwhere, Kate in the film A Knight’s Tale, Cat MacKenzie in the BBC Three drama series Lip Service and Lydia Rodarte-Quayle in AMC’s Breaking Bad and spin-off Better Call Saul.
Keep an eye out for author Dan Wells who makes a brief cameo as a police officer near the closing of the film.
Wells apparently liked the idea of Crowley knocking off his neighbor for dancing with his wife, he joked that he was upset he hadn’t written it (not in the book).
Interestingly, the shots of Crowley exercising on an elliptical cross trainer are from Christopher Lloyd’s actual routine.
O’Brien thought the robotic, absent movement was so eerie, he had to film it, creating what is considered an iconic moment in the film.
You can catch I Am Not a Serial Killer on Prime Video.
I Am Not A Serial Killer (2016)
Max Records as John Wayne Cleaver
Mobile phone advice?
Laura Fraser as April Cleaver
Christopher Lloyd as Bill Crowley
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Final thoughts . . .
Entertaining at the least.