Serial Slayer (2004)
Director: Mark Tapio Kines
Melanie Lynskey/ Lauren
Sheeri Rappaport/ Gina
Mary Lynn Rajskub/ Grace
A serial loon dressed in winter clothes (in summer of course) and armed with a “One Dollar Store” crossbow, spends his afternoon terrorizing three really dumb broads who are dwelling inside a house. He walks on their roof, they talk us to death; we sleep like Codeine pumped toddlers, roll credits.
Thank The Spirits of the West for cold beers and good friends; it’s the only way I could’ve remotely enjoyed my time spent with Serial Slayer; a low to no budget film shot on Mini DV that Lion Gates recently put out. My buddies and I wound up having a Mystery 3000 like party with this one and that saved my sanity from slipping into the abyss. Thanks a-holes! I owe you…well a lot! The next lap dances are on me!
The low budget nature of Serial Slayer is not what turned me off it and I didn’t mind the video format or the handheld camera execution one bit. “Au contraire”, I applauded the director for some of the stylish and at times moody shots he managed to pull off. The same went for the pinch of tension he succeeded in making me feel. Taking into account that I wasn’t feeling this flick for more than a minute, that was quite the accomplishment. Furthermore, I grooved to the initial premise (crossbow killer on the loose), respected the editing (good job), thought the three leads were credible in their roles and boogied to the film’s sole novel idea (the maniac's identity). So what was the damage? Sadly the core of the affair failed to win me over. I just couldn’t get past the impractical unraveling of events or the despicable (from my point of view anyways) characterizations of the three main girls. I was so frustrated that I almost jammed a finger down my throat to distract myself. With that said! Ladies and gentlemen! I give you; The Three Duncekateers!
What the hell and I mean THE HELL was up with the main dames in this film and their yap-yap ways of dealing with the grim situation they were in? Is that how Tupperware Party chicks would handle a sniper on their roof? Is that it man? Let me offer you a glimpse of the hurting I had to sit through. So the girls watch a News Report on TV stating that a serial sniper just offed a bunch of people 10 miles from where they are. This wasn’t his first kill; he’s been hitting suburban neighborhoods for weeks, in the daytime no less. Hours later one of the girls spots a creepy stranger in the window and then they all hear footsteps on their rooftop… there’s somebody up there! Result? They don’t believe that a sniper is on their roof, they debate, deviate the conversation to ex boyfriends (?!?), heavily theorize, dispute some more…basically do everything but actively, fully and efficiently address the problem at hand! To make matters shoddier; when they finally did decide to ACT; it was either in freaking idiotic ways (yeah run back in the house…dumbo) or in asinine-MacGyver inspired fashions. The drop of acid on top of this Camel Toe was that their every deed was of course precluded by tedious brainstorming sessions that almost had me spitting at the screen in irritation.
The entity of the serial sniper didn't fare much better either. He brought my living room down with laughter every time he popped up. I mean its freaking summer and its broad daylight. What does he wear for the task? A black long sleeve wool shirt, black pants, black gloves and a black hood. Hey dude! Why don’t you just launch fireworks off the rooftop to announce your presence while you're at it! You’re trying to tell me that NOBODY saw this buffoon running around? You trying to tell me that with the killing spree he’s left behind thus far, they’re wouldn’t be at least one police car patrolling the vicinity? Not one! YEAH RIGHT! Tag to all that crud actress Mary Lynn Rajskub’s constant facial expression of one having to take a Donkey Kong dump and trivial moves galore and you get a waste of my time. Should’ve called this one Serial Chatter! Check Please!
We get arrows in the back, a damaged foot, an arrow in the gut, a stabbing and Mary Lynn Rajskub’s 24/7 sour puss.
Melanie Lynskey (Lauren) and Sheeri Rappaport (Gina) are both good actresses and did what they could with what they were given. Too bad the script played against them. I couldn’t warm up to Mary Lynn Rajskub (Grace) throughout. Unless you count laughing at her as “warming up”. Was it her character’s nerdy nature? Her mucho comical facial expressions? YES IT WAS!
T & A
None…and for once… I didn’t complain.
I dug Mark Tapio Kines eye, enjoyed the handheld approach and was impressed by the shots that were accomplished via that method. Hopefully I’ll warm up to his next script where this one just peeved the crap out of me.
The synthesizers score at hand was adequate; nothing more; nothing less.
There was some talent behind Serial Slayer. The hand held camera work/editing were good and I also liked a couple of the narrative moments. But sadly for me; the heart of this apple was rotten and in consequence the whole left me bored and aggravated. Your enjoyment of this ride will definitely depend on if you warm up to the stupid lead girls, the inane manner in which they handled themselves and if you swallow the "Yeah right!" chain of events. I didn’t; case closed.
I was inspired afterwards though and came up with a sequel concept. I think it has potential: A sniper is killing about the environs - a male hero hears footsteps on his roof - he gets his double barrel shot gun out of its case and walks outside - he looks up, sees the sniper on the roof - he aims, blasts a hole in the sucker's chest - the dead sniper topples off the rooftop – the male lead goes back inside – cracks open a beer - calls the cops- he takes a healthy swig off his brewskie - roll end credits. It’s called Serial Slayer Part 2: THE WAY IT SHOULD HAVE GONE. Coming Soon at a garbage can near you!
Judy O'Dea, who starred in the original Night of the Living Dead, has a cameo here as the “opening kill”.
The flick was initially called Claustrophobia but was re-titled by Lion Gates who were also responsible for that totally mis-leading box cover art.
The flick cost under 114 000$ to make.
Melanie Lynskey starred in the great Heavenly Creatures and Sheeri Rappaport was in the smutty Little Witches
OFFICIAL SERIAL SLAYER SITE HERE