Self-help “gurus”. I’m sure you are all aware of them. They claim to be able to make you rich, successful, the greatest you, you can be. Buy the book, listen to the CD, watch the DVD, see how they made money. A little hint, you’ve just given them a portion of it.
Listen to some of the stuff they spout and take it out of context. Imagine you aren’t you, imagine you are someone else, someone with less morals, less boundaries, someone, say, like a serial killer.
Lou, Katie Brayben (“Doctor Who (TV)”, “Luther (TV)”), is a meek woman, living at home with her hugely overbearing mother Maureen, Sarah Ball (“Doctors (TV)”, “Skins (TV)”). Lou is the sort of women who will apologise to you, if you bump into her.
She idolises these self-helpers, in particular Chuck, Ben Lloyd-Hughes (“Breathe”, “Divergent”), the ‘master’ of the self-helpers. But it’s at another self-help seminar when she bumps into Val, Poppy Roe (“This Way Out”, “Doctors (TV)”), who is the complete opposite of Lou; brash, uncaring, bold, a serial killer.
Obviously, Lou doesn’t know this at first, in fact, she misses an awful lot of clues, bless her, but Lou decides to seize the moment and go with Val on a journey of self-help, self-discovery, serial killing.
The pair set off and begin visiting a variety of self-help transformation people, from sound, to tree hugging, to being reborn, they do it all, with Val leaving a bloody trail in their wake.
It all comes to a head once they finally track down Chuck, to his lovely, large home in sprawling fields. Chuck appears to have it all, but it is all an act. He’s mid-way through a divorce, his publishers are about to drop him, he’s addicted to drugs and he’s on the verge of bankruptcy. This is disappointing, particularly to Lou, and that’s not good, particularly for Chuck.
First-time feature length writer and director Staten Cousins Roe (“This Way Out (Short)”) has created an absolute gem with A Serial Killers Guide To Life.
It’s darkly funny, the looks between the two as they visit these various self-helpers says all you need to know. The movie zips along at a great pace but it never feels rushed, it’s all quite matter of fact, much like Val herself.
But it’s the end, when that payoff hits, you know something is coming, some of you may even guess in advance (to which I pity you as you won’t get to experience the delight of the end), but when it hits I blurted out, “oh very clever”. We’ve seen it before, but Roe has done it very well, very well indeed.
Roe then helps you out, playing some parts he’s kept from you at the start, but you don’t even need that. Immediately your mind starts to rewind the film and it all clicks, all the little pieces fall into place and you know. When you know, you know. Brilliant.