“I Am Not a Serial Killer” is a 2016 black comedy thriller directed by Billy O’Brien. This director is almost completely unknown, having only written and directed a total of 6 cinematic productions. The story is strictly based on the first installment of a novel trilogy and was written by Dan Wells in 2010 by the same title. Both works follow the same storyline, just through different mediums. So, if you are into reading and movies, I’d strongly suggest you partake in both of these experiences.
The main plot of the tale follows protagonist John Wayne Cleaver (Max Records), a diagnosable teenage sociopath with homicidal tendencies, along on his solo hunt for a metaphysical serial killer that is rampaging the streets of a snowy North Dakota town. John works with his single mother, April (Laura Fraser), at the town mortuary where he helps prepare cadavers for burial, which wouldn’t be a problem for anyone if John wasn’t also totally infatuated by serial killers like the BTK Strangler, Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer. John, his mother and his principle have grown very concerned with his dark obsession and they even go to the extent of hiring a personal therapist, Dr. Neblin (Karl Geary), to casually talk and help John with his homicidal fascination.
John has personally developed a system of rules to keep himself in check, and by "in check", I mean it keeps him from murdering people. Some of his rules include simple things like regularly hanging out with his super normal best friend, not making lists of people he is going to kill one day and when he people watches he can’t watch one person for too long or he makes himself ignore them for a whole week. These rules may seem strange to a non-sociopathic individual, which is roughly 96% of the world, but they actually reveal a lot about John’s character and show that deep down he is actually a very caring and companionate kid.
John’s troubles don’t start until Crowley (Christopher Lloyd (Doc from “Back to the Future”)) is witnessed by John killing a man and taking his organs, which John was aware had been happening due to his direct occupational involvement with the town’s dead bodies. His naturally inquisitive mind then leads the viewers/readers on a high-suspense adventure that is sure to surprise you in the end.
If you enjoy a good thriller, then this movie is a must see for you; the pacing is just slow enough to let you think but just fast enough to keep you entertained, there is a clever amount of humor thrown throughout the film and the cinematography and sound effects keep you at the edge of your seat.
See this movie and, if you want to, read the book too. You won’t regret it.