DVD Review - You're Killing Me
In subject matter and slight tone, this movie, directed by Jim Hansen, feels more akin to something like Serial Mom (1994) and American Psycho (2000). Only, it's not as campy, as funny or even as homoerotic as those aforementioned films. It mainly involves openly gay characters, even two who do drag or cross-dress, but somehow this movie doesn't tap into gay culture as much as it might think. Given that Hansen's career in Hollywood has been mainly as a costume supervisor, this movies feels more like the creation by one who's more adept at crating external and superficial things than anything else.
The movie takes place over the course of a week as we watch him kill a person or two everyday. After Andy, Joe starts to date another guy named George, played by the movie's co-writer, Jeffery Self. The comedy in this movie comes from the fact that Joe is honest and very matter-of-fact about being a serial killer and actually murdering people, but because Joe's way of speaking is so deadpan, ironically, George thinks Joe is always joking. George doesn't realize Joe is for real every time he murders someone that George knows and immediately confesses to it.
What is meant by balancing force or some gravity like empathy is that killing just for killing's sake isn't funny. There's no humor in that. The audience watching needs something to care about or someone to care about. We also need to be able to feel like we understand them and that there's more beyond the surface. That's the empathy.
Perhaps, this is Jim Hansen and Jeffery Self's point. Perhaps, this is the truth they see in relationships, gay or not, and this would be a perfectly acceptable truth, if their character of Joe wasn't so problematic because ultimately nothing about him is consistent in this narrative. He's so childlike and sophomoric that his killings follow random impulses. He doesn't seem to have a plan. He has no preference of victims.
It would have worked better if Joe's victims were more consistent or purposeful, instead of being so random. The pattern of victims seem to be gay men of a certain type, those who are egotistical, narcissistic and only want sex. The pattern of victims seem to be of the bitchy, catty and self-involved type, but those types don't end up being his only victims. His victims turn really random.
There's no fun to them because there's no creativity to them unlike the murder-scenes in Serial Mom. It's basically just Joe walking up to someone and effortlessly stabbing a knife or swinging a machete. There is zero energy to any of the murders. Most sloths and turtles have more energy than Joe.
Maybe the point is that people never really want to think the worst in others, even when evidence of such is literally staring them in the face. Maybe Hansen and Self's point is that attractive, white men can literally get away with murder in the eyes of most people. The subtext of the film never supports this, which just leaves the murder-scenes as just stifling and not exciting or thrilling at all. The murders are simply stupidity on display.
Two Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but contains language, violence, blood, gore and rear male nudity.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 29 mins.