Dennis Rader (Kane Hodder) is a seemingly mild-mannered government worker who gets urges to kill people, so he promptly does. Based on a real serial killer, the film shows his spiral of compulsion, murder, and finally his capture.
In the roughly bazillion movies about real life serial killers, this one stands out to me. Not just because for once Hodder is playing a mortal killer with a voice and a face (he’s actually a good little actor), but because instead of just focusing on a lone wolf and his murders, a goodish chunk of the movie shows the effect Rader’s actions have on his wife and two teenage daughters. What strikes me the most is the continuous irony about Rader’s life. He’s a compliance officer, meaning he gets paid to make sure people follow the law. He’s a Boy Scout leader, a bible studies teacher, and the president of his church.
While the film is far from a sensitive piece about a troubled man (there’s oodles of blood and guts), it’s far from a gorefest of cowering women. One isn’t supposed to understand or feel sorry for him (he’s a crappy dad and husband as well as a monumental hypocrite), but there are glimpses of him as a normal person. It’s serious, thoughtful, and honestly a bit depressing. Check it out if you’re a fan of the genre or of Hodder.