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Serial Slayer
2004 - R - 79 Mins.
Director: Mark Tapio Kines
Producer: Mark Tapio Kines
Written By: Mark Tapio Kines
Starring: Melanie Lynskey, Sheeri Rappaport, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Will Collyer
Review by: Joe Rickey
A serial killer is on the loose, having murdered ten people already (with a crossbow no less). Meanwhile, three women (Melanie Lynskey, Sheeri Rappaport, Mary Lynn Rajskub) are having a get together, discussing such “interesting” topics as ex-boyfriends, their love life and other such topics, ad nauseum. They soon find themselves being stalked by the killer. Yet aside from a few obligatory moments, they seem to forget that pressing issue and go back to discussing the aforementioned subjects, all the while the viewer becomes bored stiff while viewing ‘Serial Slayer,’ another dreadful direct-to-video entry into a genre becoming increasingly diluted by such shoddy fare.

One thing that must be noted right out of the gate is that ‘Serial Slayer’ is shot on low-grade digital video; therefore it most closely resembles ‘Open Water’ in terms of picture quality, with the backgrounds especially lacking much in the way of definition or detail. Compounding matters is the fact that director Mark Tapio Kines (‘Foreign Correspondents’) doesn’t seem to have any idea what to do with the camera, often going the pretentious route (and the sign of an amateur filmmaker) by focusing on random objects such as doorknobs and telephones. For example, the phone rings and we are given an extreme close-up of it just so Kines is sure we get the point. He also sees fit to utilize handheld digital cameras, thereby leading to moments that are often more shaky and disorienting than a ride on a rollercoaster. During the rare action sequences (people running mainly) it is akin to ‘The Blair Witch Project’ and one might be in need of a valium to stomach it.

The film has other problems as well, chief among them is that for a purported horror film, it is about as pulse-pounding as watching an infomercial. Director Kines made the mind-boggling decision to shoot the entire thing during the day, leading to moments of unintentional hilarity when the three women are somehow unable to spot the sweatshirt-wearing killer in a wide open clearing at what might as well be high noon. The horrid screenplay doesn’t help matters. It features some incredibly lame dialogue spoken by actors who appear to have been given their lines on the spot with no prior preparation for how convincing they deliver them. The film also makes use of what has become a cliché of the horror genre as the women make some decisions that are simply astonishing in their illogicality as a way to add length to what rightfully should have been a much shorter film. Do they call the cops? No. Instead, they talk about other topics or run screaming from hither to thither, all seemingly in an attempt to drive the viewer insane from the inanity of the entire enterprise.

‘Serial Slayer’ is an abomination of the highest order and should be avoided at all costs unless one is looking for filmic torture.
Movie Guru Rating
Offensive and completely without value.  Should never have been released.
  0 out of 5 stars

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