Follow TV Tropes


Film / How to Be a Serial Killer

Go To

A young man named Bart (Matthew Gray Gubler) working at a video store finds a new purpose in life when he meets a charasmatic serial killer who offers to take him under his wing. The serial killer, named Mike (Dameon Clarke) teaches everything he knows about killing to his new pupil, giving him lessons and helping him find his "inner voice".

This movie has examples of:

  • Asshole Victim: Most of the victims are this.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Mike is shown as a perfect boyfriend who loves animals. He would seem like a genuine good guy if the movie didn't include him killing people every couple of scenes.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Odd, considering how Mike thinks rapists are the scum of the earth.
    Dr Goldberg: What happened to your eye?
    Mike: Ah, some guys tried to rape me again.
  • Dark Comedy: This movie is extremely disturbing if you look at it from a serious point of view, but when you treat it as a comedy it's pretty funny.
  • Advertisement:
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Bart and Mike's entire friendship/student-mentor relationship and the way Mike's girlfriend acts seems almost like an affair at times.
  • Evil Counterpart: Inverted, near the end we see two cops with an obvious student/mentor relationship who are trying to kill Mike.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Mike, when he's doing the whole seminar thing.
  • Evil Mentor: Mike.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Mike will not harm animals, kill children or rape women.
  • Hostage Situation: Mike uses Bart as one, though it turns out it's subverted as he's doing it to convince the police that he's just a hapless victim rather than an accomplice.
  • Improvised Weapon: Mike kills somebody using a cinder block he finds in their home in one scene.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Mike's method of coping: 'Perception is reality. If we think we can get out of this, we're gonna get out of this.'
  • Advertisement:
  • Large Ham: Mike, when he's presenting the "How to be a Serial Killer" seminar.
  • Karma Houdini: Mike seems like this but he is caught and put to death in the end.
  • Mood Whiplash: The movie shows Mike killing people in sometimes horrific ways and then shows him hanging out with Bart or his girlfriend, going from a very dark mood to a light or romantic mood.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Mike suggests "slash his throat" to his colleague as what to do to an annoying/asshole workmate, but mutters it so when asked what he just said he replies "slash his tires".
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: The young cop utters this to Mike, even after he's killed all the other cops. Seems a little stupid, really.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Mike says that rapists are the scum of the earth.
  • Serial Killer: Well duh.
  • Slasher Smile: Mike, while killing and/or talking about it.
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Most of the movie, including very dark scenes, has music similar to what you'd find in a porno playing in the background.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Bart, very literally.
  • Trickster Mentor: Mike enjoys messing with Bart's head, but usually has a purpose behind it.
  • Villain Protagonist: Mike is a serial killer who murders people in sometimes horrific ways but goes by very strict morals like never kill children, never harm animals and take care of the less fortunate.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Mike has never killed a child and thinks it is wrong to do so.