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Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer

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  Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer Review
Tookey's Rating
8 /10
Average Rating
6.71 /10
Michael Rooker , Tom Towles, Tracy Arnold
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Directed by: John McNaughton
Written by: John McNaughton, Richard Fire

Released: 1986
Origin: US
Length: 83


A serial killer (Michael Rooker, pictured) makes some new friends.

Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Grim, depressing, horrific film, made on a shoestring, about the unacceptable underbelly of American life. Despite the title, there's little close-up analysis of why anyone becomes a serial killer; but writer-director John McNaughton and his cast depict the spiritual poverty of the characters' lives with grisly authenticity. Michael Rooker, as Henry, is unforgettable: a nightmare made flesh.
For all its notoriety, the film goes out of its way to de-glamorize violence. Rarely has murder looked nastier or more pointless. The two serial killers on display are sleazebags: some attempt is made to explain, but none to excuse, their crimes. The one sympathetic figure is Otis's self-destructive sister Becky (poignantly played by Tracy Arnold), who befriends Henry with gruesome results.
The film is deliberately as bleak, inexorable and desensitised as its "hero". Its most horrible sequence (a multiple murder on video) reminds the audience of its own voyeurism, and the love story skilfully subverts the Hollywood orthodoxy that Love Conquers All.

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