A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life
Director: Staten Cousins-Roe
UK Release: January 13, 2020
Our Rating: ★★★★
A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life to life is a refreshing, very British look at the very American idea of self-help gurus, wellness retreats and life coaches. Lou (Katy Brayben) subscribes to the message these “gurus” are preaching, she is unhappy in her day to day life. Living with her overbearing, smothering and frankly awful mother, she longs for more. It is easy to see why Lou would turn to the charismatic life coaches for help.
A chance encounter?
Lou first notices the enigmatic Val (Poppy Roe) at a motivational speaking event and makes quite the impression on her. Has Lou found her perfect life coach in this glamorous, take no bullshit women? Well.. yes and no. Lou and Val embark on a road trip, dropping in on several different life coaches, retreats etc on their way to the home of Chuck Knoah (Ben Lloyd- Hughes). Chuck is the perfect example of a motivational speaker, he is intense with eye contact, his hair is slicked so no strand is out of place, he just wants to be friends. He doesn’t want to feel pathetic and pay him to make you better, no sir, just friends.
So you are a serial killer.
As they travel, Val and Lou get to know one another more, Val learns that Lou is sheltered and harbours some pretty intense rage and Lou learns that Val is a serial killer. She’s been killing the whole time they’ve been journeying along.. awkward.
Val might be a serial killer, but she is the most normal person in the entire thing! We meet some wonderfully crafted characters who portray the extreme and downright odd means people will go to in order to feel like they are winning at life. The self- help montages alone are a perfect mix of awkward and endearing, you can not look away though you really, really want to.
Val, a brilliant serial killer
Val is a considered serial killer. She is calm, collected and always has a plan. Even when things are going wrong, she is quick to make a decision that will solve the problem. Quick thinking, good problem-solving skills, persuasive and personable, all the great personality traits you would want from a life coach. The only slight drawback about Val, is her insatiable need to be the best life coach, she wants to be THE most famous, most loved self-help guru. And she is not willing to let anyone stand in her way. Roe delivers her lines with razor-sharp timing, a dry and dark sense of humour accompanies ruthless killings. Val, despite the killing thing, is an inherently likeable character. You’d happily follow her murder spree/ life coaching journey for hours!
A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life has some solid life lessons
Shelving the murdering for a moment. A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life really does have some brilliant life lessons. The film is split into chapters, each introduced by Knoah with some self-help mumbo jumbo, but there is some truth buried there. Val pushes Lou to try new things, talk to new people, experience so many things she has never experienced before. She really grows throughout the course of the film, something Val says to Lou in the middle of the film really stuck with me.
“You’ve been thinking about everyone else your whole life, now its time to start thinking about you”
What a great line! There are so many great things we can take away from A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life: think about yourself more often, try new things, believe in yourself. But maybe just do not take away that murder is okay.. that might not end that well.
All the elements of A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life just complement one another, it is as reaffirming as it is bloody. A deeply entertaining and witty film about finding yourself. It asks us to question what might happen if, on this journey of self-discovery, you were to find something dark/ dangerous. What happens then? It is all packaged in a darkly funny well-written film, with characters who you root for and can’t help but like. A Serial Killers’ Guide to Life is sure to satisfy the tastes of anyone who enjoyed films like Sightseers, Keeping Mum and Slaughter House Rules.
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