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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | October 16, 2021

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Genre Blending: I Am Not a Serial Killer

Genre Blending: I Am Not a Serial Killer

| On 07, Oct 2016

Intensely eerie, darkly funny, I Am Not a Serial Killer morphs enthrallingly across teen horror and supernatural thriller genres, plunging into the depths of murder and monsters.

Adapted from Dan Well’s young adult novel and directed by Billy O’Brien, I Am Not a Serial Killer premiered earlier this year in the South by Southwest Film Festival and recently had its one time screening at New Farm cinemas.

Starring Christopher Lloyd and Max Records, the film follows John (Max Records), a troubled teen who works in his family run funeral home in a small Midwestern town. Diagnosed as a sociopath who displays the behavioural indicators of a serial killer, he abides by a strict set of rules to control his murderous urges. However, his resolve begins to weaken when the quiet town becomes the hunting ground for a violent killer. With bodies of the ravaged victims being delivered to his family’s mortuary John’s drawn to the grisly murders and starts investigating the crimes, while trying to suppress his own homicidal tendencies.


Records is impressively adept in playing John, an outsider who recites polite speeches to himself before approaching neighbours, but falters when he sees them. Records is understated and sincere; never taking the portrayal too far, restraining the character in all the right moments. This is especially clear in the scene where John confronts a bully at a school dance. He delivers a compliment so menacingly that it’s both amusing and alarming and blends the diverging elements seamlessly.

Lloyd gives a surprisingly nuanced performance as John’s neighbour, Mr Crowley. Able to discard his usual Hollywood role, Lloyd carves out a distinctive and complex character. He brilliantly shifts between the chilling and ominous to the ailing and vulnerable. O’Brien’s profound visual style, beautifully captures a pervasive sense of unease. The wide-angle shots allude to the dark and menacing, which can lurk beneath the unassuming façade of the small town.

Australia’s official release of I Am Not a Serial Killer was the 29th of September 2016. However, the film is only being showed in Melbourne, so keep an eye out for its digital release in December.

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