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Bob Doto [Film Festival 11.18.08] movie review horror comedy



Year: 2008
Release date: Unknown
Director: Luke Ricci
Writer: Luke Ricci
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Bob Doto
Rating: 8 out of 10

“If you can dream it, you can kill it.”
—Mike Wilson from the “How to be a Serial Killer” seminar

I’m not one of those horror fans who gets off on heaps of FX violence. Actually, I’m far from it. So, when I found out that I would be reviewing Luke Ricci’s directorial debut How To Be A Serial Killer, I honestly wasn’t terribly excited. Truth be told, I assumed the film would be a balls-out slasher fest, serving no purpose other than to make me squirm in my seat. Once again (and this proving to be a theme) I was wrong.


Let’s not be mistaken, HTBSK contains enough murder and subsequent blood flow to keep even the most hardened fan a little squeamish, but the crux of the film lies elsewhere. HTBSK is ultimately a dark comedy about two men: guru of serial killing Mike Wilson (Dameon Clarke) and Bart (Matthew Gray Gubler) a meek video store clerk who becomes his willing disciple. Throughout the film Mike guides Bart through the ins and outs of serial killing his way to a more fulfilling life, teaching him the ethics, as well as the tactics of the trade.

At first the film looks as if it’s going to be a ruthless blood-comedy documenting the malicious relationship of two cold-blooded killers. This, however, quickly turns out to not be the case as Mike’s nuanced and rational take on the art of serial killing begins to unfold through interspersed “seminar” vignettes. Mike muses on the varying aspects of his trade with segments dealing with ethics (no children, no mentally challenged people, no robberies, no rape), body disposal (saws, hydrochloric acid, clippers), killing methods (blunt objects, guns, knives), and the art of balancing work and personal relationships (always keep your girlfriend super happy and she’ll be none the wiser).

What I loved most about this film, however, was the depth of Mike’s character. Mike is a three-dimensional genius, in a way, too good for his chosen lifestyle. Throughout the film we see him at his intellectual highest, as well as at his grizzliest low. We come to know Mike both as a much-needed father figure to Bart, as well as a quick-to-be-jealous bully who hides behind aggressive humor. It is this depth that carries the film all the way to its deserving spot on the hill.

Above all else HTBSK is a smart film with smart writing lead by a smart serial killer who teaches his protégé to be…a success unto himself (AKA smart). Luke Ricci made quite a first impression on all of us in the theater that night. He’s a humble man and worthy of our attention. Currently he is enjoying NOT being a director while he works on writing something he’s “really excited about.” I’m excited too.

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cyberhal (12 years ago) Reply

sounds a bit like wedding crashers...

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lubodog (12 years ago) Reply

Dameon Clarke as Mike Wilson is awesome...where else can we see this guy....?? The trailer rocks!

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Anonymous (11 years ago) Reply

you can see him as the voice of cell on dragonball z

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patrick morgan (11 years ago) Reply

is a good movie and it can be funny, violent, deep, and a whole other things when is necesary, is not a master piece but is very good

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Anonyminous (10 years ago) Reply

Movie was boring as hell. Avoid at all costs.

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me (10 years ago) Reply

like i loved this movie it was freakin hilarious i loved the end when mattew gray gubler said he wanted to live up to nim

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Anonymous (9 years ago) Reply

great film mgg and dc are both great it's good to see bart evolve and i loved the ending


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