SERIAL KILLER is a mechanical, barely competent thriller from Canadian director Pierre David (SCANNER COP) that is saved by an effectively repulsive performance by Tobin Bell as a psycho who plays a cat-and-mouse game with an FBI psychologist.
A serial killer is stalking Los Angeles. FBI Special Agent Selby Younger (Kim Delaney), who is part of the "Mindwalker" unit, is able to deduce that the killer is a taxidermist named William Lucian Morrano (Tobin Bell). Morrano goes to Younger's apartment and is about to kill her when he is shot
by her detective-boyfriend, Cole Grayson (Gary Hudson).
Two years later, Morrano is taking part in an experimental cancer treatment in jail, and is able to escape from the hospital. He starts to taunt Younger and Grayson with phone calls, leaving a trail of corpses for them to discover, including a woman whose eyeballs he cut out. Morrano also finds a
tabloid TV reporter who did a negative story about him and severs his vocal chords.
After he shoots a police colleague of Younger's and kidnaps a young girl she knows, Younger agrees to meet Morrano to get him to stop. He tells her that he's dying and wants her to have his child so that his legacy will live on. He tries to force her into a car, but she manages to drive away. The
cops chase him, but he escapes.
Younger and Grayson then conceive an elaborate plan to trap Morrano by having Younger fake her own suicide, then letting him see that she's actually alive in order to lure him back to the house to kill her. The plan works and Morrano breaks into her house, but Grayson is waiting and kills him.
Set in L.A., but shot mostly in Canada, SERIAL KILLER has the flat, sterile look of a TV-movie and is made with no more imagination or originality than absolutely necessary. It's also a surprisingly tame entry in the "cop-catches-psycho-killer-by-thinking-like-him" genre, with most of the violence
taking place off-screen. Instead, the overly talky script is rife with facile psychology and perfunctory allusions to PSYCHO (1960)--Morrano kills his abusive mother and loves to stuff animals.
The one saving grace is the albino-like Bell, who is truly creepy as Morrano--possibly the most convincing screen sicko since Andy Robinson in DIRTY HARRY (1971)--but the rest of the cast sleepwalks through their parts. And Pam Grier is wasted in a brief bit as the standard gruff police captain.
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1996
- Rating: R
- Review: SERIAL KILLER is a mechanical, barely competent thriller from Canadian director Pierre David (SCANNER COP) that is saved by an effectively repulsive performance by Tobin Bell as a psycho who plays a cat-and-mouse game with an FBI psychologist. A serial ki… (more)