When the Screaming Starts

The mockumentary has become a staple of movie films over the last few years. From Rob Reiner’s classic This is Spinal Tap to Christopher Guest’s A Mighty Wind or Best in Show to Taika Waititi’s What We Do In the Shadows, the mockumentary has proven to be a winner.

Joining this prestigious list of films is director Conor Boru’s new film When the Screaming Starts.

Down on his luck filmmaker Norman Graysmith (Jared Rogers) found himself a sure fire winner for his new documentary. The world’s fascination with serial killers is at an all time high, but Graysmith has a new hook. He found a guy who is planning on becoming a serial killer and Graysmith decided to follow the path of the serial killer, pre-killing.

The serial killer wannabe is Aiden Mendle (Ed Hartland) and he is happy to invite Graysmith into his inner circle and talk, on camera, about his plans to become a serial killer, though he has yet to kill anyone.

Things pick up dramatically when Aiden decides that he would be better off in the same vein as Charles Manson and have a family of his own, so he goes about interviewing people, with his girlfriend Claire (Kaitlin Reynell), who want to join his serial killer family.

This movie is a hoot. It reminded me very much of What We Do in the Shadows, but focusing on serial killers instead of vampires. They are 100% right when they say that there is a fascination with serial killers in the world, as you can tell by how much of a buzz there is for the Netflix series about Jeffrey Dahmer. Just the idea that a filmmaker would be willing to follow along with someone promising to be a murderer is something you can imagine happening in today’s society.

The humor is very British, heavily reliant on the well written dialogue for the laughs as well as the bizarre situations these characters find themselves in. It takes the humor right up until the end when the tone shifts from comedy to almost horror and we change direction. It works very well.

The other actors involved in the story included Ronja and Vår Haugholt, Octavia Gilmore, Katharine Bennett-Fox, Kavé Niku, Stuart Vincent, Yasen Atour, Louise Ann Munro, Steve Hodgetts, and John-Christian Bateman.

The film moves along at a crisp pace and does a great job giving moments to everyone in the ensemble. The performances all work very well in the film and rarely do the jokes miss. Each delivery of the satirical scenes fit together beautifully and help lead us to the point where everything changes.

I did not see this coming and I thought it was hilarious and extremely well constructed. When the Screaming Starts is a outstanding addition to the mockumentary subgenre.

4.6 stars

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