The story of Citizen X (1995) is more of a murder mystery than a horror tale, & so slow moving it isn't always working as suspense. It is based on the true story of Russia's most notorious serial killer, & nice to know they don't all live in America.
The detective played by Stephen Rhea & his immediate superior played by Donald Sotherland are not in the least convincingly Russian, falling in & out of bad Rusky accents. But overlooking poorly sustained accents, the film was well acted.
Made originally for HBO, it is restrained in the bloodletting, but there are enough brief graphic details of stabbing & cannibalism & child victims, so that it does verge into graphic horror as much as HBO dared in '95.
But the main point of the film is the emotional impact on the primary detective who devotes despairing years to trying to catch the child-killer.
Max Von Sydow has a small but significant role as Russia's first forensic psychiatrist, who knows how "normal" & lowkey the villain is apt to seem to people in his daily life.
While I have liked tales of charismatic psychopaths from Norman Bates to Red Dragon & even Freddy, the impotent loserly wussiness of actual serial killers is of a more credible & realistic interest.
Overall Citizen X seemed a very minor film, but a successful one, mild compared to slasher psycho pictures, but a worthy break from the campier bloodletting of the cheeziest psycho flicks.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl