THE CRAIGSLIST KILLER (Lifetime Movie) Advance Review


THE CRAIGSLIST KILLER is an original Lifetime movie which premieres this Monday, January 3, 2011 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. The movie is based on the true story of a Boston University medical student, Phillip Markoff, who trolled for women in the erotic section of Craigslist to meet, tie up, humilate and ultimately kill.

There are three kinds of way to approach a true life crime movie such as The Craigslist Killer. The story can be told from the killer’s eyes, from the fiancee’s eyes, or from the victims’ eyes. Often movies will incorporate and mix a bit of the killer’s and victim’s perceptions, usually filling in guesses as to what the victim thought or said. The Craigslist Killer went with the second route, telling the story through Phil’s fiancee. Although the viewer does see Phil when he is not with his fiancee, Megan, and the viewer also sees the interaction between Phil and his victims, the majority of the movie is premised on the relationship between Phil and Megan and the destruction of it by Phil’s actions.

The movie spends a lot of time in the beginning showing the relationship between Phil and Megan even if the courtship is fast forwarded a bit. I think that it is effective as I found myself totally charmed by Megan, and even Phil, who was funny, good looking and engaging. Then when things start falling apart and the tension starts to rise, it is easy to see the differences and the cracks that start to form. The only problem with the focus centering more around Megan is that the viewer never really gets an understanding of what is going on with Phil. The tension between Phil and his parents is never explained and Phil’s explanation as to why he did what he did seemed lazy.

Another especially moving technique in the movie was the contrast between the wedding planning and Phil’s plans to kill the victims. The viewer would see them side by side. For example, Megan would be at a taste testing and Phil would be buying duct tape. This technique continued until the end of the movie, even after Phil had been arrested, showing Megan moving on and Phil planning his next move.

The only complaint I had with the casting were Megan’s parents. Either they did not look old enough to be her parents or she looked too old to be their daughter. I am not sure which is the case, but it was distracting. The actor that played Phil did a great job of playing the charming flirty playboy and then later turning into a tension filled ball of anger. I was excited that William Baldwin was in the movie, but his part was so small, he was barely on the screen.

Overall, I thought this was a good movie with a different perspective. There was less focus on the actual crimes and solving them, so if that is what you are looking for, you might not enjoy the movie. However, if you have ever thought what if someone you knew turned out to be a killer and would you even know, this movie is right up your alley. I want to know what you think! Tune in on Monday, January 3, 2011 at 9:00 p.m. and then come back here and let me know what you thought about The Craigslist Killer.

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