Faking A Murderer stars co-writers Adam Rodness and Stuart Stone, who also directs, as Adam and Stu, two small-time filmmakers who stumble upon a potential serial killer. They take their evidence — YouTube videos the man uploaded — and pitch their idea. To the brothers-in-law’s surprise, it is picked up, and off they go searching for the murderer. But, of course, they hit a few snags. They did not budget properly for the cost of an investigator, and as they get closer to their subject, they realize that perhaps, he isn’t a crazed killer after all. Is that the truth, or was their initial hunch right all along?
Faking A Murderer is a tale of two tones that, frustratingly, don’t always mesh together. Rodness and Stone play their respective characters (possibly slightly fictionalized versions of themselves?) as antagonistic and dimwitted. Now, this works in the early scenes, as their ribbing and irritation at each other are both palpable and hilarious, in a low-key kind of way. Their chemistry is excellent, so the audience easily buys their antagonistic but pseudo-loving relationship as 100% authentic.
However, as things look more and more dire for the filmmakers, their constant being at odds does not jive with the serious and creepy nature of the person they are after, not to mention the reason they began this undertaking. Do not misconstrue that statement. Stone still crafts several highly involving and tense moments as the protagonists go against everyone’s better judgment and keep asking about town for this potential killer. A nerve-wracking sequence involving a member of the crew comes to mind. But such scenes are preceded or directly followed by a goofy line or back-and-further between Stu and Adam. It’s hard to always remain invested or understand how to appropriately feel at certain times because of this.
“…they realize that perhaps, he isn’t a crazed killer after all.”
Still, Faking A Murderer ultimately proves worthy of a recommendation. Rodness and Stone are smart enough to understand that a story such as this can only have one inevitable conclusion. As a result, they don’t try to pull the rug out from under viewers, and the final few minutes generate what is probably the largest belly laugh of the entire production.
Here’s a brief aside before everything gets wrapped up: None of the marketing nor the synopsis state the potential killer’s name or anything of that sort. As such, I chose to also omit it from this review, despite his online persona being named relatively early on. The actor who plays the possibly mad man does a great job, for the record.
Faking A Murder does not always keep audiences engaged as it vacillates between intense and foreboding to absurd quips at whiplash-inducing speeds. But the acting from all involved is great and individual scenes often work unto themselves, plus the ending is perfect. As such, if the film sounds like something you’ll like, chances are you will.
"…the ending is perfect."