Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer (2010)

I'm not a fan of most serial killer movies. There's a few that are worth it, but most of them tend to be poorly made video fodder for the unadventurous and stupid (the serial killer flicks of Ulli Lommel, for example.) Also, there's the fact that most serial killer and murder cases tend to be a bit much for me. Sure, I can watch slasher movies and whatnot, but I can take comfort in the fact that those are fictional. Then there's the fact that a lot of serial killer movies tend to be kinda the same in some regards. Well, writer/director Mark Vidak tries to do something a little different with "Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer", and at first it seems like he's going to pull off a good movie-well, at first being a key response.

Maria (Danielle Harris) hosts a show about cold case mysteries, and has come to a small town to investigate the decades long disappearances of several women. Here, she meets with Emmett (Lance Henriksen), who knows a lot about what's going on. From here, we learn about Cyrus(Brian Krause), a man with a terrible life and luck, who became a serial killer. Also, it seems like Emmett knows a bit too much about Cyrus.

For a while, it feels like "Cyrus" is actually going to be a decent little surprise. The cast of character actors (Rae Dawn Chong as a former victim) and horror vets (Doug Jones as an expert on serial killers, Tiffany Shepis as Cyrus' abusive prostitute mother) all do fine work, the atmosphere is filled with dread, and the director adds a bit of pitch black humor (Cyrus' aversion to profanity for example) to the proceedings. Most worth of praise is Krause as Cyrus. The character is absolutely despicable in what he does, but he's also a tragic figure born of harsh circumstances, whose frightening throughout but still a little human thanks to the actor's performance. If he's lucky, Krause could get some great work as a character actor in the future.

As I said though, the movie works at first. Unfortunately, it also falls into many of the cliches (abusive authority figures, neglectful wives, a mother whose a whore, etc.) that fall into the genre. Granted, a lot of these things tend to be true for a lot of serial killers, but at the same time, they are themes that have been dealt with so many times in the past that they aren't all that interesting or intriguing. There's some ugly violence and gore on, but I felt that in a movie that had such an eerie atmosphere, there doesn't need to be images of innards plopping into empty buckets. The biggest problem is the conclusion, which you see coming a mile away, yet still feels insulting. The director could have gone with a few shades of gray, but when it ends the way it does, I couldn't help but say to myself "Wait, that's it? That's the ending?"

So, is "Cyrus" ultimately worth seeing? Well, if you enjoy movies about serial killers, than this is certainly for you. As for me, I was hoping for something good. Too bad the end result is a movie that starts out fine but ends up beeing another serial killer movie.

Rating: 5.5/10

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