Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer Review
Written by: EasterBunnyKiller
This movie is a morality tale if there is one. When I watched this, I found myself kind of agreeing with Henry, at least part of the time. So, either this movie humanizes a killer in a way others haven't, or it made me realize that I am slowly slipping into the mindest of one.
The movie follows Henry, a killer. I'm hesitant to say serial killer, because there are different definitions of the term serial killer, none of which seem to apply to Henry. One school of thought is that serial killers simply have an irrational compuslion to kill. Thsi doesn't really seem to fit Henry, since at all times, he seems like he is very much in control of himself, even going so far as to explain how not to get caught.
I'll stop splitting hairs now. When I first decided to watch this movie, I was really psyched up for it, because apparently the twentieth century's foremost authority on horror, Stephen King(I dare you to argue. Just go read Danse Macabre), said that it was the first movie that had actually scared him in some time. After having watched the movie, my conclusion is that either what I read was misquoted, or that Stephen King had a weak moment while watching it.
I wouldn't necesarily call this a scary movie, or even horror in the large scale. As I watched it, it struck me as simply a profile of the killer, which explains the namesake. I watched and at the scenes where I suspected there would be a kill, lo and behold, there was, and in a similar manner in which I had thought. Now, perhaps this was just my highly tuned kill detector, or maybe it really was as predictable as I thought. You be the judge.
Now, regarding the acting. It wasn't terrible, but for me, it really left something to be desired. It seemed kind of melodramatic, and there were a few parts where the actors just seemed to be going through the motions. That notwithstanding, the dynamic between the characters made Otis' fear of Henry almost palpable. As I watched, I could feel the tension of Otis' character, as though he was awaiting Henry's judgement.
The character of Becky just didn't seem believable to me. I imagine that much of this would be attributed to the script, where after having spoken with Henry for about ten seconds, she just kind of throws out her life story. Maybe her character was supposed to seem emotionally needy, or maybe she was trying to break the ice, but there is a line you have to draw, because the acting didn't really support it. In the midst of playing cards, she matter-of-factly talks about how her father took liberties with her as a teen.
To which Henry replies "So you and your dad didn't get along then?", or something to that effect, which was just gold, and really seemed to fit the persona of Henry, who came of as antisocial and slightly apathetic. Unfortunately, that seems like the stock kind fo persona for a serial killer in cinema, which was somewhat disapointing.
Spoiler: But, I digress. In short, Becky pissed me off. For some reason, from her actions, she seems kind of like a closet slut. I'm not sure whether it was the actress portraying her, or the character herself, but in the end I was glad when she got gacked. End Spoiler.
Surprisingly, the music for the movie didn't even register with me. As I write this, I honestly cant remember anything about the score, which is odd, because I put a lot of stock into the music of a movie. I'm going to write off the music as forgetable, which is a major low point for me.
Ironically enough though, the forgettable music score didn't ruin the movie for me. I was too focused on the odd interaction between characters and the obvious sexual frustration of Otis. That being said, the one thing that truly pissed me off in the movie was the continual fascination with 'getting a beer'. I can remember about four or fives times when Otis just comes out and says, "You want a beer? I want a beer," or some similar line, including, but not limited to the two or three times when he has a beer in his hand and orders Becky to retrieve one for him.
If I had been Henry, Otis wouldn't have lasted into the second act, so to speak. But then again, Otis did help pay rent, so I can understand why Henry went around icing random people.
Altogether it was a good movie, endearing in a strange way. As I reflect on the movie, I realize that my reaction to it says a whole bunch of things about me, which in itself is a bit unsettling. Maybe that's what Stephen King meant.