Let’s talk about the I Am Not A Serial Killer Movie

imageI’ve seen it! And it’s awesome.

The I Am Not a Serial Killer movie debuted last night–the world premiere–in the SXSW film festival in Austin, Texas. Let’s take a minute to bask in its greatness, and to answer the question that’s burning up every social media outlet I have: how can YOU see the movie?

First, a review. Keep in mind that I am maybe somewhat kind of slightly biased, so it’s hard for me to be objective, but I’m confident calling it the greatest movie that has ever been made by human hands. Let’s hit some key points one by one:

-John is great. He’s fantastic. Max Records does such an amazing job bringing him to life, with that same blend of likeable and creepy that people love so much in the book. This despite the fact that:

-There is no voiceover. I know a lot of people wondered about that. So much of the book takes place inside his mind, with his direct narration, and the movie replaces most of that with simply a very emotive actor. You don’t get words, but you get his face, and it works wonderfully.

-The other actors are all great as well. Christopher Lloyd is every bit as sympathetic and terrifying as he needs to be–maybe even more so. Laura Fraser, as John’s mom, hits it out of the park: she walks this amazing line between being a shrew (which is how John sees her) and being a concerned mother who’s in way over her head (which is what she really is). Just like in the book, you’ll start off not liking her, and then by the end you’ll love her, and you’ll see that she’ll do anything for her son. And everyone else is so good, too–Margaret, Lauren, Kay, Neblin, Max, Brooke. They’re not huge roles but they’re vital roles, and even in their limited screen time you get a perfect sense of who they are, and how they relate to each other, and what they mean. I can’t even pick a favorite, though I can tell you you’re going to fall in love with Brooke.

-The story has changed in the adaptation. Obviously–that’s how adaptations are. But it works. There’s one sequence in particular, with a dance and a barber, that feels so perfectly a part of the story that I almost feel bad I didn’t write it first. Even more importantly:

-The ending is slightly different. When I read the final version of the script, and saw the new ending, I wrote Billy (the director) a massive, 12-page essay on why the ending didn’t work as written, and why he needed to go back to my version of it–or at least preserve some certain key timing elements. He stuck to his guns and kept his ending, and now that I’ve seen the movie I can assure that this ending totally sold me. It’s exactly the ending that the film version needed. I’m trying to be vague here, so let me assure without spoiling any specifics that the same things all still happen, they just happen in slightly different ways. If, by some beautiful miracle, we get to make more movies, they’ll all still track perfectly with the plot of this one. Which is a great segue into:

-Will there be more movies? If this one is successful and makes money, yes that possibility exists. Even if this movie is successful, I don’t see it as super likely, but I guess we’ll see. That’s way in the future for now, though, so keep it way on your mental back burner.

-What is the movie rated? This is a really common question. It hasn’t been rated yet, and won’t be until it gets a theater release (knock on wood), but I can assure you that the movie I saw is pure PG-13. No sex or nudity, very little language, and all of the violence happens off screen or way in the distance. There is gore, but nothing they don’t show every week on CSI.

-And now for the big question: when will it be in theaters? That all depends. We are an independent movie, which among other things means that we do not have a distributor capable of putting it into theaters. That’s why we’re here at SXSW–to show it off, build some buzz, and get a big studio with a big distributor interested in picking us up. If that happens, either here or at a future festival, then the movie could potentially be in theaters as early as next year. It would go to streaming services and DVD sometime after that. Yes, this means that you might have to wait a VERY long time to see it, and I’m sorry. Such is the glacial pace of filmmaking.

-What about smaller or limited screenings? As much as I’d love to show it around, I cannot guarantee that anything like this will happen. Yes, I know you’re willing to pay for it, and yes, I know that we could absolutely fill a theater in, say, my hometown of Salt Lake City. Those things are true but don’t matter, as harsh as that sounds. Up until we have a distributor, the movie needs to stay exclusive to festivals, because that exclusivity is what’s going to attract more festivals to show it, and festivals are pretty much the only way we’ll ever get picked up by a studio. Sorry. It breaks my heart, too. Like I said, though: you’ll get to see it eventually, just not soon.

-What about fans outside of the US and UK? When do my beloved readers in Germany and Argentina and Mexico and everywhere else get to see it? The answer is more or less the same: as soon as a distributor picks it up, and decides to subtitle or dub it for your market. I don’t have control over any of that, as much as I wish I did. Once it hits streaming and DVD–which is essentially guaranteed, even if we never get a theater release–you’ll have access to the English version, but a translation might be harder to come by.

-What can you do to help? Unless you’re a Hollywood executive, not much. Talk about the book and share it with others. Buy copies for all your friends–that creates more buzz, and the sales raise the profile for the money people who’ll be making the final decision. None of that is likely to have a huge effect, but I guess you never know. And I’m not going to complain :)

So: there you have it. It’s done, and I love it, and now we get to walk on eggshells for a while hoping somebody rich loves it just as much. I’ve tried to anticipate most of the important things you probably have questions about, but if you still have questions feel free to ask them below, and I’ll pop back in over the next few days to answer them.

17 Responses to “Let’s talk about the I Am Not A Serial Killer Movie”

  1. admin says:

    I suppose it’s worth mentioning that it wasn’t just me: the whole audience loved it :)

  2. Alissa says:

    I am so excited for you and this process!!! I, of course, am one of those who REALLY wants to see it. If the movie comes to any festival near Indianapolis, let me know. I know a couple of people in the film scene around here that I could ask about getting tickets to something like that. I’m so glad everyone loved it! YAY!!!

  3. Alissa says:

    And just to clarify…it’s better than Jaws? or no? 😉

  4. admin says:

    Is it better than Jaws? DO NOT SPEAK BLASPHEMY.

    Is there a central account aggregating reviews? The Twitter account @IANASKfilm is the movie’s official one, and so far is its been aggregating comments. As reviews surface, I’m sure they’ll post them there.

    What other festivals is it scheduled to go to? We hope to be announcing this soon.

  5. Zebobes says:

    First, I love these books and I hope I’ll get to see the movie soon.

    Second, if you ever do get the good fortune of making the sequel, I suddenly had an idea for how to tweak the title of Mr Monster to make it consistent with the rest of the trilogy. I know this is kind of presumptuous, and I certainly don’t have experience naming books or movies, but what if you combined the rationalistic statement pattern of books one and three and the original title? It would turn into something like, “I Only Kill Monsters”. I know it doesn’t have the same meaning as the original name, but I thought the progression of creepiness in the statements “I am not a serial killer”, “I only kill monsters”, and “I don’t want to kill you” kind of cool.

    I have no idea why I was thinking about this, but I can only conclude the blog I read years ago about how you agonized over the name of your third book stuck with me and suddenly combined with your above comment about sequels.

    (Just so you know, I am under no delusion that I should be ever compensated for this random idea if it ever gets used. It was just a fun thing to puzzle over in the shower after I read this review. Hopefully it’s fun for you to read the idea of a fan, and doesn’t cause any annoyance or offense.)

  6. Tim Russell says:

    Glad to hear it went well. I Played Olson the Barber. Hope you’ll submit the film to the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival. http://mspfilm.org/festivals/mspiff/ . The Minnesota crowd would be thrilled to see it.

  7. admin says:

    Tim, you’re scenes were all wonderful. Thank you so much for being in the movie! And we will definitely try to get it into that festival.

  8. Sarah Everett says:

    When will DCD or steaming be available? Soon? How will we know or be told? I am a huge Christopher Lloyd fan in Alaska and would buy multiple copies!

  9. Sarah Everett says:

    DVD and streaming I meant. So sorry!

  10. David Bird says:

    So, was Mr. Lloyd the perfect dark creepy character?

  11. admin says:

    Sarah: Like I said above, we have no idea. It all depends on what kind of distribution deal we can land, and that is so up in the air right now that we can’t even apply to upcoming film festivals yet. Once we know what’s going on, we’ll spread the word, but for now the answer is still “Not until next year at the very earliest.”

    Dave: yes :)

  12. Paul Genesse says:

    This is all great news, Dan! I’m stoked and excited to see this and hope a distributor comes knocking!

  13. Wayne says:

    I had no idea this existed in the world until right now. I am amazed and pleased :)

  14. Levin says:

    Is there some way that I can be notified when there’s more news about the movie? (I’d kill to be able to see it in motion picture; the book was phenomenal!)

  15. Austin says:

    Any word on further showings/potential releases, here, a mere two months down the line? I know that the odds are scant but I remain ever so hopeful.

  16. Matthew says:

    I’m really excited that IFC Film’s picked it up, now it’s just a matter of time before Theater/DVD release! I can’t wait!!!! I finished the latest book Over Your Dead Body and It just has me itching to see the movie that much more!!!!! EEEEEEK I’m excited!

  17. Nancy Rubí says:

    Heeey… So, I few days ago -Five or six, I believe, maybe a week- I found out that there is a movie for I Am Not A Serial Killer, wich is by far my favorite book ever. I felt the rush of excitement during at least two hours. I couldn’t control myself, I swear. I wasn’t even breathing properly and that’s kind of an issue, I guess? The fangirl in me can be embarrasing sometimes. Anyways, since then I’ve tried to reunite all the information about the movie I can. I’ve seen the clips and stuff, and now I find myself really happy after know you, as author of the books, loved the film! The cast looks awesome, it truly looks like they were careful about every detail (as far as I could see).
    Actually, I don’t think I have a propper question to ask about the movie, and I am not really sure about why I decided to write this comment but I don’t think it matters at this point.
    However, I also find myself a little bit sad and anxious… why? Because I don’t know when the hell I will be able to watch the film. See, I’m not from the US/UK… I know, I know, you answered to that question. I just really really really hope the movie will get to theaters here as soon as it will be in other countries.
    I also hope there isn’t somekind of Forman in the film industry who will feel my hopes and whipe them out some how. I don’t know man, there are so many troubles here I would get surprised if I don’t get to see the movie until years from now.
    Oh, I think I wrote this because I don’t have anyone to actually talk about it.
    En fin, I love your work. I seriously do. And please excuse me if you got to see any grammar mistake or felt like this was someway a poor english. Again sorry, for making you read this -at least you completely ignored it, wich is also fine I guess.

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