Serial Slayer (2004)

Starring Melanie (Heavenly Creatures) Lynskey, Sherri (The United States of Leland) Rappaport, Mary Lynn (Helter Skelter)Rajskub

Directed by Mark Tapio Kines

Now I know how The Foywonder must feel. You hear about a movie, maybe the studio offers you a preview copy of it or you come upon one, you decide to give it a chance…79 minutes later you’re that much stupider for having sat through the entire thing, wondering if maybe you’ve made the wrong career decision.

It’s movies like Serial Slayer that make me feel that much better there are movies like Chainsaw Sally and Hide and Creepin existence. This movie encompasses everything that’s wrong with indie films, and bores the viewer to tears while doing it.

How’s about a bit o’ plot, just to get this rolling? We start off through a ridiculously long credit sequence following around Grace (Rajskub) as she tries to find some location in the suburbs of L.A. Throughout it, a radio show is playing that tells us all about the mysterious “Crossbow Killer”, a psycho that’s been running from rooftop to rooftop, eliminating random people with a crossbow. Therein lies the only thing in this movie that comes anywhere close to inventive, and calling it that is quite a stretch, actually. It’s just…different, I guess. Not many psychos utilize crossbows in this day and age.

So anyway, she arrives and we discover she was invited to this house by a co-worker (Lynskey, showing the true meaning of “slumming it”), whose friend (Rappaport) doesn’t even like her. They were expecting more people, but it’s only the three of them all weekend, and the only thing they can seem to do is sit around and talk about the serial killer. Finally he strikes, but instead of just killing and moving on like he always does, he decides to continue to crawl around on the roof and make sure they’re all nice & scared before killing them.

The entire movie, short of the car at the beginning and some outside stuff at the end, takes place in this house, with these three boring women, doing a whole lot of nothing except sitting around and talking about how scared they are and how evil this killer is. And my good CHRIST is it ever boring.

Technically, the film has nothing going for it at all. They somehow managed to film the entire movie without the use of a single tripod from the looks of it, as everything is just shaky enough to be distracting. Not that you’ll mind being distracted from Serial Slayer, especially if it’s to find more things wrong with it. The acting is more or less atrocious, with Rajskub making a “someone’s pissing on me” face (my friend’s line, not mine unfortunately…) for 85% of the time she’s alive. And when the crossbow maniac does kill her? Well, let’s just say it’s more than a relief.

We have a killer that is revealed to be wearing a black sweater, a black ski mask, and black gloves in the middle of the summer. Fine, some people are just strange like that…but the problem is this killer is running around in the middle of the day! Why not just wear a big neon sign that says “Crossbow Killer” on it? I know, because that wouldn’t be quite a visible as a PURE BLACK OUTIFT in the middle of the goddamn DAY.

It’s obvious that not a single person involved with this movie had a clue what they were doing, and the “stars” had to be just doing it for a favor or something. I can’t imagine anyone sitting around brainstorming, coming up with this idea (which has every indication of being shot literally in one day), and actually convincing anyone it would be scary or even worthy of being called a horror film. What it is is a complete and utter waste of time, money (both yours if you rent it and whatever small amount the filmmakers spent on making it), and crossbow bolts, which I’m sure could’ve been put to better use hunting innocent woodland creatures or something.

Oh, and that cover? Pay no attention to it. The killer looks nothing like that, the film does not take place at night, the house doesn’t even resemble the one in the picture, and the crossbow he actually uses is about the size of a loaf of bread, not a rifle.

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Johnny Butane

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