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Film / I Am Not a Serial Killer

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I Am Not a Serial Killer is a 2016 supernatural horror thriller film based on a book of the same name. It is set in a small town where a string of mysterious serial killings are taking place, where each victim is missing a seemingly random body part (both internal and external). A recently diagnosed sociopath, John Wayne Cleaver, figures out who is doing the killings and gets more and more involved as he tries to understand how the killer relates to himself.

The film is an Irish-British production directed by Billy O'Brein and was shot on location in the town Virginia, Minnesota. It stars Max Records as John Wayne Cleaver, a sociopath who needs to suppress his worst urges, Laura Fraser as April Cleaver, a mortician and John's mother, and Christopher Lloyd as Crowley, the Cleaver's neighbor from across the street.

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Examples:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Brooke is a blonde in the novel but is a brunette in the film.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Cleaver pees himself when he witnesses the monster's first kill.
  • Daydream Surprise: Cleaver was people watching during a therapy session, trying to figure out the relationship between fear and the actions that can cause events people fear. He watched a woman cross the street with this in mind, and she got hit by a car...and then didn't. It was all in his head.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Crowley's last words to Cleaver and his mother, while exposed in his natural monster form, is to tell his wife that he loves her.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Cleaver puts up with Rob Anders' (of 232 Carnation Street) bullying until he calls his mother a slut, whichin he then threatens him while explaining his sociopathy. Cleaver finally taking fatal action against Crowley is prompted when Crowley takes his mother as a hostage in order to get his heart back.
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  • Implied Death Threat: Cleaver threatens a bully, Rob Anders (of 232 Carnation Street), in a fairly obvious but legally subtle enough way: Bringing up his own sociopathy, Anders' address, and pushing him back while explaining how he could kill Anders. (while saying he wouldn't)
  • Improvised Weapon: Crowley frequently used objects on scene as a weapon, like a fishing pole and barber's scissors. His supernatural prowess made just about anything a viable weapon.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: Cleaver wears a panda bear mask whenever he's about to take action against Crowley or his family.
  • Meaningful Name: John Wayne Cleaver's name is an homage to the serial killer John Wayne Gacy mixed with a weapon commonly associated with serial killers. The character has a fascination with serial killers and is shown suppressing his violent urges throughout the film.
  • Monster Clown: Cleaver's halloween costume bears a passing resemblance to John Wayne Gacy's clown costume.
  • Picky People Eater: Crowley is a black-blooded monster who assumes human form and hunts humans routinely, as he needs to feast on a variety of fresh organs to survive.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Cleaver is ultimately this, taking bolder and bolder steps against the monstrous Crowley, ultimately killing him.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Theres a lengthy segment of John just watching Brooke in the dark outside.
  • Technologically Blind Elders: Crowley does not know how to take a selfie and send it to his wife.
  • The Coroner: Cleaver's mother operates a morgue out of her house, which is reasonable considering that the film is set in a small town.
  • The Shrink: Dr. Neblin is Cleaver's therapist, with a role not unlike Dr. Melfi on The Sopranos: privy to everything except the most incriminating details.
  • The Sociopath: Cleaver is diagnosed with sociopathy early on in the film.
  • Threat Backfire: Cleaver anonymously threatened Crowley with a message left on his car, though the "threat" aspect was fairly implicit. As Cleaver called Crowley trying to figure out what makes him tick, he tried to run over Cleaver with his car.
  • Tragic Villain: Crowley kills out of biological need, not out of desire. Part of the reason Cleaver struggles to understand him is because he is not a sociopath.
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