With a bit slower pace and ambiguous atmosphere, The Clovehitch Killer is a different type of movie about serial killers. It cleverly avoids the usual genre tropes which makes it quite refreshing. Especially if you’re a fan of the genre. And if you’re not, it still makes for one hell of a character study. So, everything depends on your taste and previous experience, as it always does with movies. I mean, nothing here is revolutionary but the way it is presented to us is quite novel. I liked this lack of grand narratives and forced conclusions. This opens spaces for discussion and examination of these quite potent motives. It’s also, in its own strange way, a coming-of-age movie.
The Clovehitch Killer follows Tyler Burnside, a teenager living in the remote town of Clarksville, Kentucky as he’s trying to figure out who the killer is. So, the small-town setting and teens trying to figure out who the killer is immediately reminded me of Stephen King’s stories. And a lot of eighties B horror movies. The story is relatively predictable and the movie doesn’t even try to hide that fact. Actually, this is one of the movie’s biggest flaws, lack of mystery. And lack of almost any suspense. All this makes for one odd atmosphere that’s neither here nor there. I will skip the whole moral examination as, as I already mentioned, it totally depends on your own perception of the world.
In a small town in the middle of Kentucky, a string of murders has rocked the community. Exactly ten young lives have been taken before the vicious killer disappeared. The only clue to his identity is a special type of knot he uses on his victims. This earned him the nickname The Clovehitch Killer. Ten years have passed and young Tyler is starting to think that he knows who the killer is.
Again, I can’t help but mention the television show Mindhunter as one scene just kept popping in my mind. It’s the opening scene of season two where a woman enters her home only to hear strange sounds coming from the bathroom. All this is accompanied by the incredibly fitting song by Roxy Music titled In Every Dream Home A Heartache. Hot damn, it just sent shivers down my spine. And then again when I watched the clip on YouTube. Fucking Fincher man, he’s just so good. I would go so far as to say that that fucking scene accomplished what this entire movie was trying to do. Well, that’s a bit harsh but you know what I mean. All this being said, I have to admit that there are several quite effective scenes here. One of them was truly unnerving, mostly because of the sounds you were hearing.
The similarities do not end there as The Clovehitch Killer draws inspiration from BTK killer, the same man appearing in the Mindhunter. However, I would like to add that there are many similar killers and that BTK is only the most famous one. Although one would argue that John Wayne Gacy is also right up there with BTK. Finally, I would like to say that I also liked the deliberate storytelling here. Usually, movies like this tend to fizz out in the final third but that was not the case here. And if you’re looking for more of the same check out our selection of Serial Killer Movies.
Director: Duncan Skiles
Writer: Christopher Ford
Cast: Dylan McDermott, Charlie Plummer, Samantha Mathis, Madisen Beaty, Lance Chantiles-Wertz, Emma Jones
Fun Facts: Dylan McDermott wore a prosthetic belly to add weight and help transform his appearance.