By Merle Bertrand | October 17, 2001

I keep wanting to call this film “My Sweet Satan,” Jim van Bebber’s short film and former Film Threat Video title based on a series of drug-induced murders in Cleveland. “It’s ‘Killer,'” I have to keep telling myself. Killer, Killer. As in “kill-her, kill her,” the twisted obsession that constantly runs through the mind of Charlie Cavenaugh (Kirk Harris), a troubled former mental patient now back on the streets in this creepy psychological drama from Justin Dossetti. Disturbing dreams of a beautiful woman who incessantly eggs him on to murder haunt Charlie’s nights. The maladjusted loner becomes obsessed with his nocturnal “girlfriend” despite her odd proclivity for fondling butcher knives, and is willing to do anything to get back to sleep and his dreams. When his therapist steadfastly refuses to prescribe any sleeping medication, Charlie grows increasingly reclusive and his actions become more desperate. Soon slacking off on the job and ignoring the concerned pleas of his best friend, happy-go-lucky ex-con Dave “Buck” Buckler (Jack Rubio), Charlie turns back to buying drugs off the street, which quickly re-launches him on the path to acting out his dream-fueled lethal obsessions. You’ve got a pretty good idea where “My Sweet Killer” is heading from the opening gun. Nonetheless, it’s often more interesting — and creepifying — watching the journey unfold when you know where you’re headed and this film’s sometimes excessively languid pace provides plenty of time to whet your sense of dread. Harris, (writer, director and star of the Slamdance award winner “loser”) who adapted the screenplay from a short film by Dossetti, turns in a wickedly intense performance as Charlie. It’s frighteningly easy to look into his burning, fiercely brooding eyes and see the lava-like rage seething inside. Freddy Krueger fans need not apply for “My Sweet Killer,” as this internal nightmare is a different kind of horror film. A moody, darkly churning voyage into the mind of a tormented psychopath, “My Sweet Killer” is a solid slice of independent filmmaking.

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