Serial Killing 4 Dummys is a low budget independent film about a boy in high school with no real aspirations and a black sense of humour who listens to music like Marilyn Manson who pretends he wants to be a serial killer to impress a girl. It’s also a black comedy that is genuinely funny (even if one of the best jokes is better in Hot Fuzz) and doesn’t actually look overly cheap or poorly acted.
The biggest surprise, rather than the film being genuinely funny, well acted or decently scripted, is the presence of Lisa Loeb in the cast. Lisa Loeb, for those of you without a memory of one hit wonders from the mid nineties who didn’t even make number one, is a woman who released one song that charted in the UK and looks exactly the same some twenty years later. A quick glance at IMDB confirms that, despite being born in 1968, she has been playing a teenager for the couple of decades. She’s like the Alanis Morrisette of Krankie imitators.
The two main problems with the film are the fact that the protagonist confuses whether he wants to impress a girl with whether he wants to follow a course of action. It starts with him clearly pretending to want to be a serial killer just to impress a girl to him actually trying to follow the course of action of his own volition. This isn’t a massive jump of logic, as we’re all prone to be irrational when we have a crush, especially as teens. The other problem is that the police are portrayed stereotypically in a manner reminiscent of bad tv shows dating back to the 70s. Honestly, I think that this is probably intentional and a deliberate joke. It’s isn’t a particularly funny one though, or isn’t made to be funny through this iteration of it.
There are some very good jokes though: the careers advisor is perfectly observed, alternating between being squirm inducing and hilarious (unintentionally to the character, brilliantly done by the writers), the therapist is more than just a plot device and the coach is really well crafted and acted. Like I said, the film is a genuinely pleasant surprise.
From the casting and writing, to the coach’s one liners and the main character’s flawed logic and ridiculous ideas of what being a serial killer actually involves and entails, it’s a twisted little teen movie that is actually enjoyable. It’s well worth a watch even if it has dated slightly.