Friday 17 January 2020


When self-help fanatic Lou (Katie Brayben) meets wannabe guru Val (Poppy Roe), the pair go on a road trip to experience different therapy sessions, leaving an unexpected trial of dead bodies in their wake. One of the crowd pleasers from last year's Frightfest in Leicester Square, A Serial Killer's Guide to Life in now available to rent.

Lou is a simple young woman who spends her time caring for her ungrateful mum, preparing her meals and washing her in the bath. She spends her days listening to self help CDs and attending seminars that are really nothing more than sales pitches for shysters trying to take advantage of the naive and vulnerable. It's at one of these seminars that Lou meets Val, an exorbitantly confident sociopath whose biggest ambition is to be the greatest life coach the world has ever known. Seeing in Lou someone whose life she can help turn around with her unorthodox methods, Val takes control of Lou's life and tries to mould her into a more confident, altogether deadly woman.

Following the trail blazed before them in films like Badlands and Thelma and Louise, there's something so appealingly British about A Serial Killer's Guide to Life that only adds to the charm. Comparisons to Sightseers (another British, coastal murder spree), are obvious, but the dynamic at the core of the film is different, and the story is laced with a not-so-slyly satirical dig at the self help industry. Split into chapters, the start of each accompanied by a monologue by Lou's favourite guru, Chuck Knoah (Ben Lloyd-Hughes), the target of the film (and Val's victims) is the self-help entrepreneurs with their "alternative" medicinal therapies, and the middle class suburbanites who prescribe to them.

It's at these therapy sessions when ASKGTL (as no one's calling it) raises the most laughs, with a fantastically wanky married pair delivering "Sound Therapy" sessions and tuna sandwiches for the journey home the sort of people you can't wait to see killed. A Serial Killer's Guide (as most people are calling it) never pushes too hard for laugh out loud comedy, instead using the absurdity of its premise to raise the odd chuckle, as well as funny performances from the leads, innocent Lou (Brayden) and the icy cool Val (Roe).

Poppy Roe is a real star in the making with cheekbones sharp enough to kill. As well as co-starring, she's a credited producer and was co-editor alongside her husband Staten Cousins Roe; clearly a couple to keep an eye on. In fact, if any evidence of their dedication to their craft was needed, Cousins Roe was nearly late to the Frightfest world premiere of this film due to his wife giving birth the night before. Multi-taskers indeed.

A Serial Killer's Guide to Life is a road trip that might visit a few thematic places we've seen before, but they've packed a boot full of charm and wit to go next to the dead bodies. If you're looking for personal growth don't expect to find a new way of life here, but if you like a bit of senseless killing as a cathartic exercise, this could be the film for you.


A SERIAL KILLER'S GUIDE TO LIFE is out now on iTunes and Digital HD

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