Reviews | Written by JAMES "MAGIC" PERKINS 02/01/2020

A SERIAL KILLER’S GUIDE TO LIFE

DIRECTOR: STATEN COUSINS-ROE / SCREENPLAY: STATEN COUSINS-ROE / STARRING: POPPY ROE, KATIE BRAYBEN, BEN LLOYD-HUGHES, SINEAD MATTHEWS, SIAN CLIFFORD, TOMIWA EDUN / RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 13TH

A young woman struggling to find her place in the world turns to the world of self-help. In doing so she meets a woman experienced in life... and violence in Staten Cousins-Roe's hilariously dark horror comedy, A Serial Killer's Guide to Life.

Lou (Brayben) is a young woman who seems to be stuck in a rut - she has a dead-end job and lives with her mother - until she decides to turn to the self-help world of inspirational quotes and step-by-step guides to inner peace and serenity before meeting Val (Roe), a strange and mysterious woman who seems to have all the answers for Lou. The two become acquaintances and set off on a budding road trip, visiting various forms of self-help classes and slowly begin to discover who they truly are before things take a drastically dark turn and their lives are changed forever.

Satire is very difficult to do - especially when trying to find the balance of telling an interesting story and also being respectful to anyone affected by the source material. A Serial Killer's Guide to Life accomplishes this task tenfold and is one of the funniest and most original British films in a long time. It manages to do all of this by firstly being quintessentially British in its characters, mannerisms and setting and secondly by having an incredibly strong writer in Staten Cousins-Roe telling the story and also being behind the camera.

Val and Lou are multi-layered, three-dimensional characters that grow exponentially within the films short 81-minute runtime and that is not only down to the writing but the brilliant performances as well. Roe and Brayben have an unbreakable bond (which begin with them working together on Roe's other short film This Way Out) which shows from the moment they meet. Val is a strong woman who has reservations on the people around her that is brought to life through Poppy Roe's physical performance in her body language and facial expressions and Lou is a shy, timid character who through her rough upbringing has a simple mind but possesses a positive outlook on life when she meets Val and goes on a journey of growth.

British Independent filmmaking is something that we laud here at STARBURST and A Serial Killer's Guide to Life is an absolute gem of a dark comedy - you will definitely want to think twice before turning to those self-help lessons your Auntie linked you on Facebook! From Cousins-Roe's sublime writing in twisted humour and character development to Roe and Brayben's sensational chemistry, this film is funny, heartwarming and brutal all in the right measure and should not be missed.

A Serial Killer's Guide to Life is released on iTunes and other VOD platforms on January 13th - check out our Interview with STATEN COUSINS-ROE and POPPY ROE here.