Cliched to the point of distraction, Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer is a horror film that manages to bring precisely nothing new to the table. Even if you’ve merely dabbled in horror films over the past 10 years, you’ve seen everything that Cyrus has to offer. Abused by his mom (Tiffany Shepis; Nightmare Man, Dark Reel) and scorned by a cheating wife, Cyrus’ transformation into a serial killer seems hackneyed from the start. Too bad that’s only one issue in a movie that’s riddled with creative missteps.
In a bracketing storyline that manages to steal a full-on 66% of the cast power, Danielle Harris plays a reporter responding to a tip from Lance Henriksen about the possible identity of a serial killer known as “the County Line Cannibal”. Henriksen claims that a man named Cyrus is responsible for the murders, and once her cameraman starts filming, he regales young Harris with a lengthy, convoluted back story of Cyrus and his fucked up progression from abused young boy to serial murderer. Like a wide-eyed Fred Savage soaking up the tales of Peter Falk (R.I.P.) in The Princess Bride, the establishing narrative with Harris and Henriksen seems like fluffy window dressing added to an already established story….“Now everybody sit back as Grampa Henriksen spins a yarn.”
After killing his cheating wife and serving her up as a “roadkill burger” in his newly established diner, the actor playing young Cyrus is replaced by Brian Krause from Charmed, who struggles to bring a genuine sense of menace to the serial killer role, despite his street cred as an experienced television actor. If anything, he plays Cyrus as someone who’s simply confused and misunderstood. And without a sense of menace, there is no tension or suspense. And Danielle Harris––despite her super-cute journalist ensemble of jacket, skirt, and knee-high fuck-me boots––gives a performance that completely falls flat in the final half. Where’s the fear, Danielle? In essence, the cruddy story feeds into the cruddy performances and serves as a sort of domino effect that drives the entire movie into the ground.
Eventually Cyrus begins full-on abducting bitches, storing them in cages and forcing them to reenact his cheating wife scenario, but without a good story driving the action, it all comes across as insanely contrived. Admittedly, the B-movie gore occasionally exceeds expectations, but in a film that features rape, cannibalism, hot iron facial branding, and forced dead baby breast-feeding, why does it all come across as such pedestrian, low-impact bullshit?