Some Guy Who Kills People (2011)

Posted on February 26, 2014

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This kept coming up in my Netflix recommendations, and now I’m glad I watched it.

Synopsis

Ken Boyd (Kevin Corrigan) lives in a small town with his mother, Ruth (Karen Black), and works in an ice cream store with his buddy, Irv (Leo Fitzpatrick). Ken recently left a mental hospital, and still has nightmares about a terrible assault that he suffered in high school.

In short order, the movie reveals that the sheriff (Barry Bostwick) has the hots for Ruth, Ken fathered a child (Ariel Gade) with a woman he knew in high school, and people from his nightmare are turning up dead.

Short Version

A strong cast and a focus on human emotions saves this from becoming just another serial killer movie.

Long Version

Before you watch the movie, let me backpedal a little bit. This is a serial killer/slasher movie. There is blood and there are some gory scenes. If you are squeamish, you might want to give this a miss.

On the other hand, I’ve seen far bloodier films (most of the Quentin Tarantino oeuvre, for instance). The killings are not the focus of this movie, so the director does not spend gratuitous amounts of time on the bodies. It’s not splatter porn.

Now that we have that out of the way, let me tell you that I was initially bored by this film. It seemed like just another movie trying to take us inside the mind of a serial killer. Then Amy (Ariel Gade) shows up.

Ken feels like a loser. He wasn’t good enough for his high school basketball team. After the assault, he had a breakdown and spent years getting treatment. Now people won’t let him forget that he’s “crazy.” He has no college education. He works a minimum wage job that requires him to periodically wear an embarrassing ice cream cone costume. His mom is tough with him. The sheriff makes off-color remarks to Ken about Ken’s mother. He’s got a rough life.

Then Amy (Ariel Gade) demands to know who her father is, and shows up at the ice cream store. Amy saves the movie. Don’t get me wrong: Kevin Corrigan gives a fine, nuanced, performance. It’s just that Amy brings Ken out of his shell, and that gives Mr. Corrigan a broader opportunity to display his talents.

Once the movie becomes about Amy and Ken developing a daughter-father relationship, it really takes off. She wants him to love her, and he starts to see himself as someone worthy of being loved.

This adds an emotional anchor to the serial killer story. On the one hand, we know that Ken is still hurting from the assault, and all the victims are people who assaulted him. We see that Amy is someone he wants to protect from her high school bullies. On the other hand, she gives him a reason to move forward with his life. He’s also kind of ineffective in life. He’s just not good at doing things – except being a dad, drawing, and playing basketball.

I felt like the script gave me some good suspects, including Ken, and some red herrings as well. The final solution to the story was satisfying enough. The resolution of Ken and Amy’s story was strong and made sense in the context of the movie.

Conclusion

I was pleasantly surprised to rent a vigilante/serial killer movie and instead watch a movie about a father and a daughter bringing out the best in each other in defiance of the insanity around them.

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Posted in: Movies