By J. Carlos Menjivar
Not too often does a serial killer movie arrive surrounded by a veil of joyously comedic fortitude. You’re Killing Me is one of those movies, one that happens to be as entertaining as it is funny. The film is a “psycho-comedy”– even a romantic comedy– and cautionary tale that’ll make you think twice about who you date.
Sent to a hospital by his parents for his fascination with killing animals, antisocial and friendless Joe (Matthew McKelligon) is heading out into the real world. Things are about to change for Joe as he’s about to embark on a journey full of wonders and experiences in the week to come. It isn’t long before Joe realizes he harbors an appetite for killing people after finding satisfaction in killing his boyfriend. Fresh off the kill Joe is quick to seek out his next boyfriend/victim, George (Jeffery Self). George is clueless to Joe’s murderous intentions despite admitting that he killed his last partner– hilariously confusing Joe’s confession as flirtatious remarks.
To make matters more befuddling– as the body count rises and George’s friends dwindle in numbers– sparks fly between the two.George is as clueless as ever despite repeated confessions from Joe, which he now full-fledgedly believes as a confirmation for his atrocious crimes.
The film’s success is the result of its two talented leads, Matthew McKelligon and Jeffery Self, who exhibit differing styles of blase nonchalant comedy in this film. McKelligon is great as the jaded and detached antisocial serial killer as he casually takes out his victims in icy-cold and bloody fashion, while unable to function in social circles. Jeffery Self plays George’s innocent cluelessness with understated grace as the boyfriend that can’t quite piece it all together and come to the macabre conclusion.
Further credit has to go to director/co-writer Jim Hansen (co-written by Jeffery Self) for his adept and energetic direction that never feels excessive despite its topic. Hansen adds idiosyncratic bits of George’s YouTube series throughout the film’s narrative as well as quick and bloody montages of murderous thoughts from Joe’s mind. Furthermore, Hansen and Self boast a fresh and exciting script that is both quirky and funny focusing on characters that normally don’t get attention in mainstream film.
In fact, the film’s ultimate triumph as an LGBT film is it’s refreshing window to a community seldom depicted in terms other than their “otherness.” You’re Killing Me doesn’t attract attention to the character’s sexual orientation, but it instead opts to “normalize” their lives, yet celebrating diversity, and integrating them into the larger scheme of things.
You’re Killing Me is a film about the vilest of things and yet it manages to be darkly comical and entertaining despite its macabre narrative. The film is a devilish clash between American Psycho with a tinge of screwball comedy from the 30s and 40s. It never feels excessive or in bad taste offering a bloody good time in the process as both a refreshing and creatively unique film.
You’re Killing Me releases on VOD March 8.
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