Trailer for I Am Not a Serial Killer, starring Christopher Lloyd, Laura Fraser and Max Records.

Sixteen-year-old John Wayne Cleaver (Max Records, Where the Wild Things Are) is not a serial killer—but he has all the makings of one. Keeping his homicidal tendencies and morbid obsessions with death and murder in check is a constant struggle that only gets harder when a real serial killer begins terrorizing his sleepy Midwestern town. Now, in order to track down a psychopath and protect those around him, John must unleash his darkest inner demons.

I Am not a Serial Killer is based on the cult young adult novel from Dan Wells, which was first published in 2009 and came to the US in 2010. Irish director Billy O'Brien adapted the story with the help of Christopher Hyde. The budget was minimal at less than $2 million, and O'Brien took advantage of his Irish roots by receiving funding from the Irish Film Board.

With such a small spend, the film saw a shotgun production with filming completing in less than four weeks. What did take time was finding a proper window of release. Nearly a year later, the film finally premiered at the 2016 South by Southwest Film Festival. The feedback from the film's premiere claimed that the adaptation is definitely a decent thriller, thanks most in part to a strong performance from Max Records as John Wayne Cleaver.

If you can't figure out how you recognize that name, this is the same kid that starred in Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are. Only this time he's not nearly as lovable. Which might also be this film's undoing. If you were counting the months, you may have noticed that it took some time for I Am Not A Serial Killer to find a distributor. According to the feedback out of SXSW, the film is super dark. Too dark for general audiences.

I am Not a Serial Killer Trailer Screencap

While the trailer for I Am Not a Serial Killer definitely kicks off with a strong low-budget vibe, the follow through is relatively strong. I can't believe they were able to shoot so much, especially the outdoor city shots, with such a low spend.

Max Richards looks barely recognizable as the troubled kid dealing with his own demons. Demons that turn desperate to come out once a serial killer begins a killing spree in his town. As warned by early reviews, the trailer suggests that the film is dark without any comedic relief. It's like watching two hours of Dexter, but our favorite serial killer is no longer likable. Makes it a tough sell.

And a tough sell it should be. This first trailer is not enough to convince me to run out in hopes of catching I Am Not a Serial Killer in theaters, but I may be convinced to catch it on a premium network to the likes of Netflix or HBO.

2 min 10 sec


Posted On
August 03, 2016
Billy O'Brien

Billy O'Brien

IFC Films

August 26, 2016
Laura Fraser
Christopher Lloyd
Max Records
Karl Geary
Bruce Bohne
Trailer Tracks
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