Tony, whose moustache passed into infamy before this film was even released, lives a seemingly uneventful life in a deeply unpleasant part of London. Unemployed for 20-something years, he spends his days obsessively watching action films and his nights looking uncomfortable in an unlicensed gay rave club.
His neighbourhood is impersonal, drug-ridden and violent, and Tony largely keeps himself to himself except for the moments when he’s harassing prostitutes to give him ‘a cuddle’ for a fiver, being picked on by obese thugs for looking like a paedophile, or dumping bags of body parts in the Thames.
You read that right: Tony, London Serial Killer is, in fact, a serial killer. There’s no terribly obvious pattern to his crimes, other than seeing off people who appear to have annoyed him, but he’s efficient and clearly experienced at both the execution and the disposal, the only problem being the constant smell of rotting flesh that hangs about in his flat, which he frequently blames on the council not sorting out the drains (not keeping the bodies to talk to would probably help more).
Having watched this it’s not long before it becomes apparent that Tony has an even bigger problem. His life – even with murder – is relentlessly, relentlessly dull.
Nothing happens. And when you think something is happening, it isn’t really. There’s no plot or character development. Sure, we see Tony take a trip to the job centre to get laughed at, but it’s already obvious he’s unemployable. He nearly gets into a fight with a guy accusing him of being weird, but it’s already obvious he’s weird. And we see him kill some people, but it’s already obvious he’s a serial killer because the clue is…well, in the title.
There’s something to be said here for playing your hand too early. Leave the ‘serial killer’ part out of the title and suddenly the first murder becomes a surprise, maybe even a shock if you thought Tony was a harmless saddo. The people around him are mostly vile, addicted to drugs, or dependent on alcohol, so why not ramp up the idea that he’s the nice one before getting him to do something fatal with a potato peeler?
And there’s another important question to be asked: how on earth did this get UK Film Council and National Lottery funding? Does setting something in a grim, urban area populated by people whose lives revolve entirely around drinking, violent conduct and drug abuse automatically qualify, even if there is no actual plot? Because if that’s the case (and evidence indicates it is), I’m going to film some nastiness taking place outside a pub in a rough area and claim my £40k.
There’s one thing that would improve this film, and that is a total re-write. Note to scriptwriters: narcotics, alcohol, unpleasant sexual ‘stuff’ and even violent death do not an interesting story make without including something about the actual people involved. Even then it might not be interesting, but at least take it into consideration.
At 70 minutes in I was expecting some gigantic, mind-blowing twist. What happened instead was that it ended, and I had to watch the last five minutes again to check I hadn’t missed something.
If you took out all of the pointless scenes which don’t add to the plot (most of it), shortened the dialogue down to its useful parts (next to nothing) and reduced the boring rubbish about people doing heroin (because they are very boring), this would weigh in at about seven minutes.
On the basis that some other reviewers think that this is the second-coming of filmmaking, and that the writers clearly have their heads down some drain somewhere, I shall give this the mark I honestly think it deserves.
Tony is in cinemas and on DVD now.