A Serial Killer's Guide to Life (2019) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
19 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
9/10
Low budget film making at its level best.
edwardstevens526 August 2019
I was lucky enough to catch a screening of this at Frightfest this year in London. While it wasn't what I was expecting in terms of what I imagined a festival of that name would deliver, I was very glad to have seen it. Right from the beginning we're given an interesting protagonist (Lou) to follow and shortly after an equally deep and complex supporting character named Val. Both actors do a stellar job of bringing them both to life and are well supported by the rest of the cast. The story itself is an original and interesting one and the director masterfully brings us into the world of the film with some excellent choices in terms of how the story is told. The films dark comedic aspects along with just the right character development and intrigue made this a very enjoyable watch. It doesn't look like it was made with a ton of money and one can see where the corners were cut but it only adds to the brilliance, in my view. The script is tight and does only what it needs to do and never at any point was I bored or felt like I was being hit over the head with the point. It has a very interesting theme (which I won't spoil) that actually speaks for itself with very strong attention to detail, top performances and slick direction. If you appreciate low budget independent films then you'll have no reason for enjoying this one. Quite simply a great piece of work.
14 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
An indie gem. Dark, witty and clever.
akta18 January 2020
Writer, director, editor Staten Cousins-Roe has created a wonderfully dark world as seen through the eyes of Lou, a young woman trapped at home with a frightningly needy mother. Lou dreams of self improvement and a better life. Addicted to self-help guides and guru's Lou becomes beguiled by a mysterious women (Val) who seems to have it all, amazing self confidence, clear life goals and a action plan to achieve them. ASKGTL takes us on a bizzare, original, dark and funny journey in the form of a road trip to enlightenment via a number of grizzly murders. A brilliantly conceived and executed film. In like so many low budget independent films It has attitude and style in abundance thanks to Staten's sharp writing and confident directing as well as a great story together with a brilliant cast who all absolutly nail their roles. To have achieved this in just a 2 week shoot on a modest indie budget takes exceptional vision and talent so expect more gems from this excellent film making team.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Hilariously dark
d-rochon16 January 2020
The self help guide to end all self help guides. Great casting and acting.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Step 1 of self help. Watch this film!
future_release13 January 2020
Oh how I ache to find great movies and it's always a delight to find a hidden gem

I loved everything about the movie. It has a great story, high production values, great acting and oh what a rarity in so called comedies, it's very funny.

More please!
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
A brilliantly subtle indie
mjsreg16 January 2020
A well-written, shot, and acted darkly humorous film.

I just love it when an indie film has all the elements that make it unusually entertaining

If you pay attention there are very, subtle comedy elements in this film..
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Watch this film
madleech22 January 2020
I great film. Funny. Well cast and directed. I enjoyed it very much.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
How is this 4.6????
arrotman22 January 2020
Love this movie, don't understand how it's rated so low here??? Wasn't a huge fan of the thing at the end but it was still a knock out film. Great performances, great script, great cinematography.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Let's not forget those sandwiches!
filmcriticjournalist13 January 2020
Very bizarre, very British, very funny, very good! Quintessentially British filmmaking with a heart. Beautiful shot scenery and a star making performance from Poppy Roe. May be too 'odd' for some but still highly recommended
3 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Good fun
paulosav1970-878-70093513 January 2020
A fun movie, not life changing but decent and funny
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Headspinningly Great
jamiedeeds22 January 2020
Loved this film from moment one. Funny and gruesome at the same time and enough suspense to keep you guessing to the end. Can't think of anything to compare it with. Just a weirdly good mix of humour and horror, not like anything I've seen before.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Wonderful, quirky dark comedy
emma_manton22 January 2020
This film follows the wonderfully British tradition of darkly comic understatement! I absolutely loved it. And found it VERY funny.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Quintessentially now
rebeccajaneclay22 January 2020
Eminently watchable, this compelling darkly comic film - at moments quite sad - is a triumph of collective effort and skill, over time and budget constraints. Grisly but never gross this rather special little film never fails to hold the viewers attention. There are excellent central performances and stellar support. A tight script, intelligent direction and wonderful sound all combine to create a mesmerising picture. Beneath the quirky slashing and quiet rage by the sea, this distinctive, original tale offers a very British study of disfunction, fracture and identity. More please!
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Fight Club meets Thelma & Louise in Sussex
iandholmes-3845415 January 2020
Was lucky enough to see this very funny, brutal and moving comedy at Kino Bermondsey on it's release day. Beautiful cinematography and score, great performances and well crafted production all round- best cinema experience in a good while.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Straps you in and takes you on a bloody journey with Lou and Val
JonSnowsMother5 October 2019
Had the pleasure of viewing A Serial Killers Guide to Life and Grimmfest this year followed by a Q&A with its director and it's certainly been a film to make a lasting impression.

At first it was near impossible not to see A Serial Killers Guide as the cousin to Sightseers, although the director Staten Cousins-Roe states that Sightseers is not a direct influence. But there's no denying that the films share many similarities with Ben Wheatley's black comedy among them the over bearing mother who pushes our anti-hero to the extreme, the jet black humour even the locations are familiar (although the film was shot around Sussex as opposed to Yorkshire).

But the question is despite the similarities does A Serial Killers Guide stand on it's? And the answer is yes, this is largely down to an excellent cast, leads Katie Brayben as the ditsy and emotionally fragile Lou and Poppy Roe as the cold and unpredictable Val both have such a strong on screen chemistry that I never found the absurdity of the film a distraction but instead a benefit. Val Roe in particular stands out as she is given so much room to be a performer acting with her eyes, mouth, body language and she really seized her chance to show what she can do. The supporting cast are also spot on with reliable character actors such as Sian Clifford, Ben Lloyd Hughes, Tomiwa Edun and the always excellent Sinead Matthews all giving the assured performances we know they are more than capable of doing, even the extras in the laughing therapy scene all did great. This is in no doubt helped by writer and director Staten Cousins Roe being an actor himself.

A Serial Killers Guide to Life may not be anything new but it's a film which stands on it's own two feet and takes you on a bloody journey accompanied by the dysfunctional but always engrossing Lou and Val.
4 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Powerful, funny & thought provoking!
bernieswann13 January 2020
Such a powerful, funny and thought provoking film with great performances.

The Cinematography and locations were fantastic, the director and the team should be so proud of this piece of work. I would highly recommend you see it!
3 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
It just didn't work on most levels
david-9483517 January 2020
The best part was the end, I'll never get that time back again, only pleasurable part was seeing the actress who played Val, her big eyes and appeal kept me from turning it off.
2 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A Guide To Follow
cbak22314 January 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Few films come along with a director, actors, actresses, producers, that will give that big wow factor while pitching the project to a major studio. Sometimes a man's and a woman's vision is literally ingrained deep within their own minds and it burns deep begging to be out on film, now just breathe and concentrate of the type of man or woman you truly want to be and show the world i can....yes this review was taking a deep physiological turn as does this film, well a simple deep escape sort of speak. Staten Cousins Roe had a vision for this film and it's nothing short of brilliant. Wow just 9 stars and not a full 10 you ask? Well that reason being is I wished this film had been 4 hours long I could've watched with no problem whatsoever. Rarely does an independent film really strike cords on all levels but this truly takes the cake. I have written reviews before for other independent films and they can rate pretty low and high with all factors taken into consideration with the one major factor being I'm a filmmaker as well, is having the idea and visualizing it and making it come to life on screen for us to enjoy which is a major step in your career and the ultimate release in knowing you put out what you wanted to put out and not what a studio maybe demanded you input and change to make it adhere to there standards. Bravo Mr. Roe for doing just that, the writer, the producer, the director, damn even the editor, absolutely a gem that I would be proud to show anyone looking a good recommendation. A Serial Killers Guide To Life starts out as we begin to see the life of Lou Farnt (Katie Brayben) and her mundane existence and striving to understand her purpose within this world. Being a single young woman who lives at home with her mother as basically a live in care taker , cooking, cleaning, bathing, etc. Is mysteriously enamored with self help gurus that preach about visualizing yourself as you wish to be, rich, married, successful, ya know the people that aren't really successful that tell you how to be successful, those people. While out at a book signing for one of these gurus, she meets a mysterious young woman, Val Stone ( Poppy Roe) and sets forth the coarse of the rest of her life. Val is attractive, tall, headstrong, a woman who knows who she is and is forth coming about it. Val makes her an offer to be Lou's life coach and is going along for the ride. They begin with Lou being aloof and attending several self help, self healing type retreats that people sometimes take part in, most are crazy but it strikes a cord because couldn't we all use a good deep breath away from the hustle and bustle of the world and take in bit of nature and fresh air? Well, eventually Lou sees the writing that's on the wall and what Val truly is, and Lou doesn't hold back and ends up this was her journey all along. Absolutely wonderfully acted by Katie, Poppy, these 2 have such great on screen chemistry, but let's be honest , Poppy Roe steals the screen every time she's on it, the faces she gives because us, the audience know what she is and what she's up to, just the perfect face every single time, cold and calculated in her planing, but she didn't expect for Lou to be the one to be her partner in all of it. Won't ruin the end but please everyone, you need to have this film ion your life, the directing was spot on, camera work with the follow focusing worked brilliantly every time, and the acting, you would believe these 2 women have had 100 projects under their belts. Pacing of the story was perfect with the editing, absolutely brilliant story telling. If there was ever a 9 that is definitely 10's across the board, I'll forever be upset that Lou isn't my life coach.
2 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Loved this film! Such a gem of a little UK indie
stevelarcher18 January 2020
Caught this at an industry screening I was lucky enough to be invited to earlier this year and was so impressed with this film. The budget was very low I believe (under £70k) and the talent of this husband and wife team is very impressive indeed. Their short film "This Way Out" was long listed for a Bafta and they have both been nominated for Bifas for this their debut feature. Definitely talents to watch in the Ben Wheatley mold of dark comedy!
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
Is someone playing a joke viewers? - My ' conspiracy theory'
stevepat9918 January 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Loser, self-help junkie living as a 'slave' to her deranged mother seeks escape with mysterious 'Val' her new life coach. Hence, a bloody, murderous road trip with Val doing all the killing during the first 90% of the film.

My 'theory' is that Val never existed. Several and/or seeming clues point in this direction. First, a flashback shows Lou's mother being smothered by Val and also Lou looking on. Then, sans explanation Lou keeps trying to all her mother. I am thinking Lou snapped, smothered her mother, got hold of a car and headed out alone on a road trip. She alone could have planned the various stops. Next, the radio reporter says ONE dark haired woman driving a car is being sought for serial murders, Lou with a wig? No mention of the two of them. Next Val, even after stabbing/bludgeoning five or so campers as well as the kitchen rolling pin to woman's head murder Val is seen as 99% free of any blood spatter, except when Lou sees a single tiny speckle of something on her face. Simply not possible. Lastly, after stabbing herself and she is lying on the ground next to 'Val' we see a police office leaning over her. Val can not be seen next to her. She asks, how is Val and we see the officer turn his head in two directions as if he is looking for but not seeing Val. Also, one scene shows quick edits of Val strangling Lou and then Lou strangling Val.

Plot hole: Val approaches woman in kitchen, with rolling pin in hand, ready to bludgeon her when the woman beats her to the draw holding a dull edge but very long bread knife to Val's abdomen. We then see Val lift the rolling pin in slow motion and she strikes the woman several times. Why did not the woman, who knew what Val was intending, not thrust the knife into Val? The fact the knife was dull did not stop Val and the woman's husband from trying next to kill one another with the same knife.

For me this otherwise interesting and even fun killing romp did not make much sense. Perhaps this is exactly what the writers intended, so they may be having the last laugh.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed