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You’re Killing Me (2015); For the Love of Serial Killers

March 8, 2016

YoureKillingMe_key artIt’s a bold move to make a serial killer the lead in a comedy rife with narcissistic people who possess poor judgment. Bold as it is, writer and director team Jim Hansen and Jeffery Self, concoct a wickedly, unbridled black comedy that roots itself in witty banter, off-beat fun, and gruesome murders. Self and Hansen’s screenplay for You’re Killing Me contextualizes the heightened social apathy towards killers while also playfully jabbing at how the brain dead, vapid mindsets of a group of L.A. friends and entertainers lands them unsuspectingly in the crosshairs of psychotic serial killer.

The most egotistical and shallow, yet most lovable, of them all is George (Self). One half of a YouTube comedy duo, George is oblivious that his new budding romance with Joe (Matthew McKelligon), a stranger who walks off the street to compliment his grocery choice, is a hardened serial killer. In George’s mind Joe’s matter of fact descriptions and confessions of murders and of his rocky, questionable past are nothing more than silly, repetitive jokes that Joe can’t help but make because it’s become his “thing” referring to Joe’s macabre humor. Though George’s friends question Joe’s stoic lack of social grace, George defends the prospective new lover by asserting that Joe “isn’t scary, he’s gorgeous.”

You’re Killing Me is a humorous satire capturing the crux of the millennial lifestyle and dating scene. George surrounds himself with people he can use as a reflector to always bring the conversation back to him. Within conversation among his group of friends exists a theatrical cadence and lack of attentive skill resulting in fast-paced quips that bounce around so much that it’s understandable why clear, long-form thought processes aren’t possible in George’s mind. George and his friends talk candidly about his relationship with Joe as well as the relationships of each other revealing a running theme of narcissism, lack of awareness, and unscrupulous jealousy. Side characters are fleshed out enough to give them their own personal flaws that results in unhealthy relationships and untimely deaths at Joe’s hands.

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Hansen brings a stylistic flair that shoots the film into a hyperrealistic tone that embraces the era in which it is a product of. George and his best friend Teddy are a YouTube comedy duo that barely registers as a popular, yet these two are obsessed with the idea of getting famous through their videos. George reminds Teddy after each video that he thinks this one is “the one.” In the post-“Dexter” and celebratory mass killer society we exist in where the news makes idols of killers, the people of this film take murder as lightly as our 24-hour news cycle tends to do.

Our media circulates one story after the next releasing the images of murders and around the clock focus on the perpetrator and not the victims, and so does George as his friends and acquaintances get picked off one by one. Joe wins more favor with George after every murder revealing each one to George who is so struck by the image of Joe that he laughs off each admission chalking it to Joe’s silly humor. This star-struck lack of awareness calls to mind the the lesions of women who find themselves in the courtrooms of convicted serial killers or professing their love for monstrous murders (Ted Bundy, Robert Ramirez, the #FreeJahar fans of the Boston Marathon Bomber) completely glazing over the guilt and crimes committed by their crushes.

As viewers  watch the body count rise, the characters of the film only occasionally mention the missing victims leaving them behind as if they are lost memories in the making. George and his friends also at times are completely desensitized to the carnage around them as seen in a brilliant scene where the group of the friends ride to dump the body of a person that has just been murdered. While riding a song comes on the radio and they all break out in a whimsical sing-a-long momentarily forgetting about the body in the trunk and the realization of the murders that have taken place. George’s own reaction to the unraveling of Joe is hilariously expected especially after Joe’s mother tells George “Joe is a very troubled boy and it reflects poorly on your character that you have not discerned this” to which George sheepishly responds “well Mom’s are usually my thing.”

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Hansen uses Joe’s mental state to bring forth some incredible moments of direction and cinematography. Hansen’s visual eye follows a rhythmic pattern that closely aligns to the music featured throughout You’re Killing Me. Moments where in-sync beats correspond to match cuts not only transport the time and space of the film, but also shines an eye into the cityscape of L.A. The already handheld steady cam used to film the story nearly rocks with trepid anticipation before Joe commits his first murder.

Though he stays levelheaded and nearly emotionless, we see his first bit of satisfaction when he stabs his victim. The resulting scene emanates a radiance of euphoria as the lighting of the scene brightens refracting a glowing rainbow of colors to block off the frame. These moments of joy become a congruent trait of the film and exploration of Joe’s place of pleasure in other’s pain. You’re Killing Me is peppered with quick cuts into the mind of Joe; a white room in where he’s covered in blood  as red tinted, fleshy, anatomical images rapidly flash by. These moments tow the line between disturbing and hilarious.

Unsurprisingly enough the internet plays a major role in these characters lives as they concentrate and obsess over the number of viewers the receive. This explains why these characters are so horrible at picking up on social cues, body language, honest truths that are spoken to them. You’re Killing Me takes an odd story and blends humor and satire into a Dario Argento inspired bloodbath. It won’t make you jump, or scream, but Joe’s brutality may make you squirm. More than anything You’re Killing Me will make you laugh at and with it while also contemplating how society has allowed George to reflect so many of us.

SEE IT. On iTunes, Vimeo On Demand, and, and on DVD via Wolfe Video and many major retailers.


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