Monday, April 12, 2021

Killer Among Us

It is a case transparently inspired by the Grim Sleeper in LA and the Pig Farmer Killer in Canada, but with extra political score settling thrown in to dehumanize everyone director-co-writer Charlie Scharfman disagrees with. You see, the killer identifies with rightwing talk radio, except presumably the law & order advocacy and a steadfast belief in the sanctity of life. Expect no subtlety and very little suspense from Scharfman’s Killer Among Us, which releases this Friday on VOD.

Alisha Parks is a rookie cop, who finds herself marginalized within her own department, while getting the cold shoulder from her urban community. She seems bitterly resigned to this situation, until one night she witnesses a man apparently pushing a woozy sex worker back into his car. Rather suspiciously, he left a syringe behind, but the top brass at her precinct just don’t care. However, the veteran Sgt. Corbucci agrees to work the case with her. With his backing, she learns the victim is actually a minor—a fact that starts to change things. She also discovers a potential pattern of disappearances.

Supposedly, the psycho killer is a rabid super-patriot, but he is also a strip club regular. Basically, he is everything Scharfman needs him to be to best serve his spiteful worldview. Frankly, nothing the killer does in the second two acts makes an iota of sense, but his erratic decisions sure make it easier to catch him.

It really is too bad Scharfman set out to make a piece of propaganda theater instead of a thriller, because both Yasha Jackson and Bruce MacVittie are very good as Parks and Corbucci. If they had been allowed to just work the case,
Killer Among Us could have been a serviceable serial killer movie. Sadly, the film as it stands is unwatchable. There is zero logic and the killer’s politics substitute for any semblance of a villainous persona.

Even if you are a hardcore leftist,
Killer Among Us is still a really bad movie, because it has no substance and no real understanding of what it seeks to demonize. Scharfman and co-writer Daniel Lichtenberg would have a point comparing the overlooked victims Parks uncovers to the murders committed by Robert Pickton and the Grim Sleeper, if they also blamed bureaucratic inaction and CYA-politics as contributing factors, along with a callous disregard for sex worker victims. Unfortunately, this film is just a chore to sit through, including the oddball epilogue, the purpose of which will leave anyone still with this film completely baffled. Not recommended, Killer Among Us releases Friday (4/16) on VOD.