A SERIAL KILLER'S GUIDE TO LIFE
Written and directed by Staten Cousins Roe
Lou Farnt (Katie Brayben) is a self-help addict. In particular, Chuck Knoah’s mellifluous tones and anodyne wisdom float around her cloudy head. It’s not done her much good to date. She still lives in the sleepy seaside town she was raised, works a dead end job and endures the wrath and passive aggressive bile of her resentful mother. She loathes her daughter, but clearly needs her in equal measure. When Lou meets spiky life coach Val Stone (Poppy Roe) at an uninspiring seminar, her life reboots. Against all her instincts, and traits she’s displayed up to this point, she goes on a road trip with her new head strong friend – touring self-improvement gurus and alternative therapies of the UK. Roe’s glare of cynicism and disdain she lends to Val colours every scene with threats of imminent danger - a truly wicked creation and performance. This is in stark contrast to the lights are on, but no one is home hopelessness of Brayben’s excellent portrayal of life’s perennial loser. Once away from the apron strings of her mother, Lou appears to grow under Val’s tutelage. However, this isn’t making her into city lawyer material, Val is teaching her how to kill and together they’re murdering the thing that Lou is addicted to. Egging each other on, they clock up a fair number of bodies along the way.
It’s darkly comedic and Lou coming face to face with her idol, Chuck Knoah, leads to a wonderful twist at the end that acts as the perfect metaphor for the trade in delusion Staten Cousins Roe observes, and mocks throughout.
By the nature of the tone and countryside setting, Lou and Val bear comparison with Ben Wheatley’s deadly duo in SIGHTSEERS. Where that was as if Oliver Stone’s NATURAL BORN KILLERS got lost in the East Midlands and Yorkshire Dales. A SERIAL KILLER’S GUIDE TO LIFE is more akin to Ridley Scott’s THELMA AND LOUISE hitting the B roads of Kent and Sussex to find the Emperor’s new clothes don’t exist.