Serial Killer Films & TV

ramonmercado

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Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector, Based on The Bone Collector novel by Jeffery Deaver.. Flashbacks to how Lincoln became a tetraplegic through the actions of the serial Killer known as the Bone Collector. He's now a consultant with the NYPD, In the opening episode he has to deal with a copycat killer and gets a new assistant, Amelia Sachs who suffers from PTSD after witnessing the murder of her parents at age 14. They kind of complement each other. A promising first episode. On Sky Witness. 8/10.
 

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The Alienist: Yet another psychiatrist helping to track down a serial killer this time in a wonderfully recreated New York. 1896. The background is fully fleshed out, a corrupt police force, their main function being to protect the rich. They allow child prostitution to flourish. Teddy Roosevelt is the new Police Commissioner and he's determined to clean things up. But the brothel owners who control other rackets can inspire riots. Especially when a serial killer is slaying boy prostitutes from immigrant backgrounds. The story unfolds over ten episodes as Roosevelt (Brian Geraghty) enlists his former college mates Dr Kreizler (Daniel Bruhl) and playboy John Moore (Luke Evans along with his secretary Sara Howard (Dakota Fanning) to join in the hunt for the killer. David Wilmot is great as the villainous police Captain Connor. Some really disturbing and violent scenes. Cannibalism, mutilation, the murderer operates on rooftops and in the sewers. New York in 1896 wasn't a pretty place if you were poor. 9/10. On Netflix.
 
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The Plagues of Breslau: Set in Wroclaw (Breslau) Poland. A serial Killer is imitating the methods used to execute criminals in 18th Century Breslau. Sewn inside cowhides which shrink in the sun, torn apart by horses. They have their crimes branded in their bodies. Helena is a troubled DI who must solve these crimes aided by oddballs like her sergeant who loves to take selfies and a tough profiler with a chip on her shoulder. There's also a publicity seeking alcoholic prosecutor and a ruthless television reporter. Perhaps too many quirky characters though the film has elements of satire as the killer is intent on uncovering corruption in public life. Directed and written by Patryk Vega. 6/10. On netflix.
 

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Ryan Reynolds did all the animal voices in the film... Accents are... not his forte, I would say.
He's got one of those faces that although it ticks all the boxes needed to be classed as good-looking, looks somewhat out of scale; as if someone put the wide end of a pint glass against his head, drew a circle around it, and then tried to get everything inside the line.
 

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Pet (2016): Seth (Dominic Monaghan) works in an animal shelter where he discovers a forgotten basement. His attempts to get Holly (Ksenia Solo) to date him are rebuffed. He stalks her online, at the Café where she works, follows her. When her ex punches him he gets more determined. He abducts Holly and imprisons her in a cage in the basement. Holly is no ordinary victim though, she has unexpected depths. Quite a few surprises and plot twists in this dark thriller. Although there are some gory and shocking scenes the emphasis is on psychological horror, paranoia and manipulation. Directed by Carles Torrens from a script by Jeremy Slater. 7/10. Available (free) at https://www.channel4.com/programmes/pet until 14 June.
 

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Reckoning: The Russian River Killer has claimed the lives of eight young women near a North California town. After a hiatus of five years a ninth body is found. It bears the hallmarks of the RRK, strangled, tattoo cut out, left on the banks of the river. Mostly seen from the perspectives of two dysfunctional families who naturally are all unhappy in their own ways, the story of the killer and his creation emerges. We have the obsessed detective, a troubled wrestling coach, a weirdo who previously claimed to be the killer, even two pesky kids. An intriguing ten episode Serial Killer series. 8/10. On Netflix.
 

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Eye See You (2002): A serial killer is targeting cops, he has a grudge against FBI Agent Malloy (Sylvester Stallone) and kills Malone's police officer friend and then his girlfriend. He also tricks Malone into shooting a SWAT agent. (Not Spoilers,this happens in the first ten minutes.) Malloy hits the bottle but is persuaded to go a tough Detox facility which caters exclusively for law enforcement officers and is situated in the wilds of Wyoming. But the officers start to die, one by one. Pretty gruesome,electric drills through spyholes into eyes, victims hanging from the ceiling in various positions. Elements of one Flew over The Cuckoo's Nest mix with The Shining - the huge facility was previously a military psychiatric hospital and they're cut off by a snowstorm. Director Jim Gillespie delivers an entertaining murder mystery. 7/10. On Netflix.
 

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Given the number of Frank's victims, I think this fits here.

Tomboy (The Assignment): Hitman Frank Kitchen crosses a crazed doctor, Rachael Jane (Sigourney Weaver) by killing her brother who owes money to the New York Mob. Jane is a cross between Drs Moreau and Mengele, carrying out radical experimental surgery on homeless people. She also runs a clandestine gender reassignment as a money maker on the side. San Francisco Mobster Honest John (Anthony La Paglia) supplies her with the street people and also traps Frank for her. Frank wakes up to find that he has been turned into a woman (Michelle Rodriguez plays both roles). Intent on revenge, Frank finds he has lost none of his male aggression or assassin skills. He guns down Honest John's associates in restaurants, in alleyways. We know Frank gets his revenge on Jane (not a spoiler), the film opens with Jane in a psychriatric hospital being interviewed by Dr Galen (Tony Shalhoub). She is in a straightjacket due to her violent outbursts. She defends her experiments on the homeless, shades of Hannibal without the culinary eccentricities. tHe story unfolds in two strands: in the hospital, and Frank on his quest. Johnnie (Caitlin gerard) plays Frank's girlfriend in both of his identities. An intriguing film noir which has more than one plot twist, with a voiceover by Rodriguez. In the wrong hands this coukd have resulted in a risible mess but Writer/Director Walter Hill delivers the goods. 7/10. On Netflix.
 

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Didn't spot a serial killer in The Assignment, it was the basic Death Wish vengeance trail thriller, but as much as I like Michelle, it was awfully dour. Needed a trashier sensibility to make the most of the premise. Sad that it may be Hill's last film at this rate.
 

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My Friend Dahmer is on 4OD at the moment. It's based on the recollections of someone he was at school with - this chap (John Backderf) is an artist and made a comic book of his recollections and thoughts of the time. It's interesting. Obviously Dahmer was a bit effed up as a teenager. I hesitate to say I enjoyed it, obviously, but it kept my attention very well, I thought it was good, I'd recommend it. And then I read about what he'd done later (soon after) and what he did was just so utterly shocking and incomprehensible. You wonder 'could you have seen it coming', which is I suppose exactly what John Backderf was asking himself. He nearly ended up being Dahmer's first murder it seems. It gets 87% from the critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
 

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I know what you mean, I'm dubious about pop culture glorifying real life serial killers, but My Friend Dahmer was surprisingly well made and thought-provoking. I wouldn't call it tasteful, but it was restrained where it should have been. It's not as if some excellent films haven't been made about killers, I suppose.
 

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Intuition: A prequel to Perfidia; Pipa (Luisana Lopilato) becomes a detective after a member of Inspector Juanez's (Joaquin Furriel) team gets a foot caught in a beartrap. Pipa was providing backup as Juanez corned a serial killer. Due to her perceptive comments and analysis the Inspector co-opts her on to his squad.They are swiftly investigating the murder of a young socialite but Juarez is under suspicion of murdering a man who had accidentally killed juanez's wife. A dark and gory addition to the Argentinian Noir genre though it perhaps gets over complicated at times with the number of suspects and red herrings in the socialite's murder. Thing get more convoluted as Pipa is secretly assigned to investigate her boss. Still, Writer/Director Alejandro Montiel delivers an engaging and watchable thriller. 7/10. On Netflix.
 

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Prodigal Son: Malcolm (Tom Payne) isn't just any profiler, his father was a famed surgeon, Dr Whitly (Michael Sheen) who turned out to be a serial killer. As a boy Malcolm was responsible for his father being caught, so he's really in the middle. Malcolm is insubordinate, reckless, eventually the FBI fire him but he's hired by the NYPD as a consultant. He hadn't visited his father for ten years but now he has to consult him on certain cases. Sheen is like Hannibal in his cell, straitjacket, lead attached to wall. Some interesting murders, snake emerging from corpses mouth A copycat killer imitates a series of his father killings. Malcolm has his own troubles, suffering from night terrors, trying to uncover dark secrets from his past. A dark strain of humour slightly lightens the horror. 8/10. On RTE2 and RTE Player.
 

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Black Butterfly; A serial killer is active in Colorado, the Roadside Killer snatches his female victims within seconds and disappears along with them. Paul Lopez (Antonio Banderas) is an alcoholic author with writers block, basically he's broke and is trying to sell his house. He has a run in with a trucker in a diner and a drifter, Jack (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers), intervenes throwing the trucker out. Paul offers to let Jack stay overnight at this house as a storm is brewing. Jack hangs on to do some repairs. He's friendly at first but Paul starts to get suspicious and ends up being held captive. An interesting take on the serial killer trope with a few surprises emerging as the plot develops. A harrowing scene at the very beginning as you see (or rather don't see) how quickly someone can be abducted. an interesting exploration of the psychological relationship between captor and captive but perhaps this thriller has one plot twist too many for it's own good. Directed by Brian Goodman. 7/10. On Netflix.
 

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Marshland: The Deep South: swampy land, poverty, smuggling, heroin trafficking, girls disappear. But this is the Deep South of Spain and it's 1980, a democracy but not really a democracy yet. Two big city detectives are sent to investigate the disappearance of teen sisters but they find that other disappearances have taken place over the years. Local corruption and protection of the wealthy impede their inquiries. A dark, violent film. murders, tortures, but the worst excesses take place off camera or are alluded to. Both detectives deal with their own demons as they pursue the monsters behind the carnage. Good thriller set against a background of social unrest during a time of changes. Directed/Written by Alberto Rodríguez. 8/10.
 

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Bad Samaritan: Two car valets have a side business in burgling, sometimes they drive the cars to the owners houses and take a few things. It has it's downsides - one of them is chased around a house by a doberman escaping. The other, Seán (Robert Sheahan) has a grimmer experience, he finds a woman chained in a house. Unable to free her he calls the police but the suave psycho (David Tennant) manages to persuade the cops that all is ok. A nightmare ensues where Seán's family and friends become targets for character assassination (as well as actual assassination in some cases). Tension is well maintained throughout the film as horror is piled on horror. The burglar finding a prisoner in a house is an old trope but it's well handled here. Sheehan is convincing as the amateur burglar with a conscience and Tennant puts in a chilling performance as the psycho-killer who has done it all so many times before. Directed by Dean Devlin from a screenplay by Brandon Boyce. 7/10. On the Horror Channel.
 

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I tried to watch "Prodigal Son" but couldn't get into the characters. Both of them seem a little OTT to me and I could find a likeable quality for eitther character. I did enjoy "The Alienist".

And come on, who can't like Ryan Reynolds? He's Canadian. Totally jk.

@ramonmercado, I don't know how you keep up with reviewing so many genres of film, tv etc. But I always find something interesting to search for from your reviews.
 

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Watched "Dead Heading" on Amazon Prime last night.

A clever twist on the serial killer theme, that often blindsides the viewer by abruptly jumping from darkly comic to just plain dark.

Well worth watching, if you enjoy a movie full of surprises and which messes with your head a fair bit.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6854600/
 

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Marshland: The Deep South: swampy land, poverty, smuggling, heroin trafficking, girls disappear. But this is the Deep South of Spain and it's 1980, a democracy but not really a democracy yet. Two big city detectives are sent to investigate the disappearance of teen sisters but they find that other disappearances have taken place over the years. Local corruption and protection of the wealthy impede their inquiries. A dark, violent film. murders, tortures, but the worst excesses take place off camera or are alluded to. Both detectives deal with their own demons as they pursue the monsters behind the carnage. Good thriller set against a background of social unrest during a time of changes. Directed/Written by Alberto Rodríguez. 8/10.
Love this movie. I bought the DVD when it was first released. Fantastic atmosphere, and a real sense of place - geographical and temporal; that period of transition in Spain was an intriguing time, still relatively underexplored. What's not said is as much of the story as what happens - I've always thought Europeans are better at that kind of thing. As the final words of the official trailer state: No lo sé.

The two leads are excellent, and pretty well known in Spain - which has a lot of great actors, often deserving of much better material than the movies they appear in.

It reminded me a bit, in atmosphere at least, of the first season of True Detective - but I suspect that's mostly down to the landscape, and the sense of an all pervasive wet heat, and the sense of trying to wrestle hidden things.

Although high level aerial landscape shots have become a bit of a standard in opening credits, it's maybe the first time it really registered with me how utterly surreal - as well as beautiful - they could really seem. A couple of examples at the beginning of this:


Reckon that's getting watched again tonight.
 

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The Legend Of The Bones: Inspector Salazar is back. In this connected sequel Amala is investigating a series of murders where women are killed and an arm cut off, the killers then commit suicide. Someone is taunting the inspector, the killers leave her notes with the word Tartallo, a fabled killer of Christians. In a parallel case churches are being desecrated, bones left, it seems to be connected to the persecution of the Cagots by the RCC and The Inquisition. The Cagot community practiced Folk Magic and were accused of being witches. We see flashbacks of Cagots being burned. Salazar has her own problems: her mother is violently insane; her aunt reads Tarot Cards and sees doom approaching; she has a newly born baby. Another Fortean tale set in the Basque Country, CSI labs in old cavernous buildings, bones found in a cave, dark foretrs. An Opus Dei priest/psychiatrist who believes real evil is at work in the area. Based on a novel by Dolores Redondo, second in the Baztan Trilogy. Director Fernando González Molina working from a screenplay by Luiso Berdejo delivers an engaging dark thriller. In Spanish, English and Basque, subtitled. On Netflix. 8/10.

Offering To The Storm: So the Baztan Trilogy comes to a conclusion. Just as The Legend Of The Bones cast a new light (or darkness) on The Invisible Guardian, this third offering recasts the previous two films. The three (and all of the killings) are inextricably linked as a tale of Folk Horror. Inspector Salazar continues her investigations but suspects die or commit suicide, even those in prison. Someone appears to exercise mind control over life and death. Salazar's mother is missing after jumping in the river but still operates through others. Infants are sacrificed to the Old Gods in the hope of gaining wealth and good fortune. A Cult has revived an age old tradition that lived on in the shadows in the Baztan Valley. The Opus Dei Priest/Psychiatrist appears again as does the enigmatic Investigating Magistrate. Some truly disturbing scenes involving true horror. A worthy addition to the Folk Horror Film Canon. Directed by Fernando González Molina from a screenplay by Luiso Berdejo. In Spanish, English and Basque, subtitled and dubbed. On Netflix. 8/10.
 

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Offering To The Storm: So the Baztan Trilogy comes to a conclusion...
Although I might not have given it quite so high a score, after some early reservations I did actually end up enjoying this trilogy.

I haven't read the books, but my ex did when they were first released in Spain, and rates them as much more satisfying than the movies. But that's not an unusual sentiment with such adaptations.

Baztan is not part of the Euskadi, but that area of northern Navarre is one of the old Basque territories, and I think one thing the movies capture really well is the atmosphere of that region of northern Spain: the mountains and the misty forests, ancient villages, claustrophobic valleys, the enormous dilapidated farmhouses hanging off hillsides, the changeably savage weather (at least in winter), and an equally savage streak to the local folklore. (The mysterious Cagots - mentioned I think in the second installment - probably deserve a thread all of their own.)

Also, it gets the odd relationship between Catholicism and witchcraft – a strange mix of regulation piety interspersed with occasional visits to the local bruja. I noticed this even in my few months in Barcelona, and I’m not sure it's uncommon to the whole of Spain, but I'm also pretty sure the tendency to hedge your bets in such a way intensifies the further north and west you go - up into Navarre and País Vasco, along that northern coast, and west into Galicia.

I love the atmosphere and environment, and I’m hoping these are going to be early shots in some kind of Basque Noir. Vitoria-Gasteiz already has Eva Garcia Sáenz, whose The Silence of the White City is, by coincidence, due for UK publication tomorrow, according to Amazon. (I didn’t rate the Netflix movie version at all - but the novel gets consistently good reviews in Spain.)

Bring on some northern Spanish Noir, I say.
 

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Just watched VFW (2020) on Netflix.

This Fangoria recommended gorefest has a very similar vibe to the 1976 classic Assault on Precinct 13, but takes the violence to outrageous levels.

In a near-future USA dystopia, a handful of grizzled old army veterans in their besieged social club face off against hoards of drugged-up savages.

Mindless violence sure, but outrageously entertaining!

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9894470/

* Sorry, thought I'd posted this to the Horror thread, as it fits that category better than Serial Killer.
 
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Unfortunately there are a bunch of stories about how toxic that film was to make for the women involved that make it difficult to enjoy now.
 

ramonmercado

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The Forest Of Love: Deep Cut: An extended tv serial version of the film The Forest Of Love. Apparently this makes more sense than the film version but it's still a convoluted story as it flits back and forth between four time periods. Inspired by a real life serial killer this story adds a school production of Romeo and Juliet which has decade long consequences for the schoolgirls involved. Crazy film making within a film which sometimes break the fourth wall and a tinge of Twin Peaks add to the strangeness of this production. Quite disturbing as people are tortured and killed, bodies dismembered. But leavened by a strain of dark humour as it relates the tale of a womanising conman cult leader. Written and directed by Sion Sono (Tag). On Netflix. 7/10.
 

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The Devil All The Time: A dark thriller set in Ohio and West Virginia, this is Hillbilly Gothic at it's best. A couple of serial killers, Carl (Jason Clark) and Sandy (Riley Keough) roam the highways between 1945 and 1965, picking up and murdering hitchhikers. This sets the background for a tale spanning two generations of families living in the two States. We have a venial, corrupt and murderous Sheriff, crazed preachers showering themselves with poisonous spiders, lecherous preachers and people driven mad by grief. Some shocking scenes, perhaps the worse though is when Willard (Bill Skarsgard) relives an episode from WW2. His son Arvin (Tom Holland) carries on his struggles against bullies and those who harm his stepsister Lenora (Eliza Scanlen). Great performances from an ensemble cast which also includes Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, Sebastian Stan, Harry Melling and Haley Bennett. Directed by Antonio Campos, co-written by Antonio and Paulo Campos. On Netflix. 8/10.
 

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23 Cases (23 Morde): German Noir, so dark that though it was filmed in 2015, Sat1 refused to screen it, eventually it was streamed by Joyn in 2019. Max Rapp has confessed to and been imprisoned for 23 murders. But it looks as if he might be innocent. Whilst still a prisoner he helps detectives to track down a collection of serial killers. Why did he confess though, other than the fact that he's a narcissist? Thar's not the only secret which has to be uncovered. Some disturbing scenes as these serial killers can be quite inventive. Created by Alexander Eslam. On All 4. 7/10.
 
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