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Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

  • Film
The 100 best horror films, horror movies, Henry: Portrait of a serial killer

Time Out says

McNaughton's compelling study of a blithe sociopath makes the flesh crawl and the mind reel. Turning up at the Chicago apartment shared by old prison buddy Otis and his timid sister Becky, Henry (Rooker) slowly draws Otis into his dark, obsessive world of casual murder. The violence is at first oblique, with Henry's past murders presented as a series of grotesque tableaux accompanied by the (recorded?) sounds of the victims death struggles. Later, the violence becomes more graphic, but what makes it so disturbing, and sometimes almost unwatchable, is the cool matter-of-fact tone McNaughton sustains throughout. Whether presenting a halting conversation or bloody carnage, he observes events with the unblinking eye of a surveillance camera. It is this air of detachment that makes the blood run cold. Rooker achieves frightening intensity as an ice-killer for whom murder and taking a beer out of the fridge are much the same thing. The remote possibility of moral redemption seems to be held out by Henry's tentative relationship with Becky, but even that faint glimmer of hope is extinguished by a devastatingly downbeat ending. A film of ferocious, haunting power, and a highly impressive directing debut.
Written by NF

Release Details

  • Duration:83 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:John McNaughton
  • Screenwriter:Richard Fire, John McNaughton
  • Cast:
    • Michael Rooker
    • Tracy Arnold
    • Tom Towles
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