The Craigslist Killer (2011) – Review

1 Star

The Craigslist Killer is the incredibly boring true story of robber and murderer Philip Markoff (Jake McDorman) who met his victims through the Internet classified ads site Craigslist. Philip wants to marry Megan McAllister (Agnes Bruckner) and live happily ever after. Megan falls for him with ease, seeing as Philip is a shining example of a perfect man. A graduate student and looking to become a doctor, he has one secret flaw. He likes to hook up with girls on Cragslist. Mostly though, their times are happy and Philip only shows signs of brief insanity through random looks. He screws up and runs out of money, his plan is to rob the girls he meets on Craigslist (maybe he’s already been doing this, who knows since the movie won’t show us). This eventually leads to one fighting back and he shoots her, killing her. Then Detective Bennett (William Baldwin) hunts him down, which doesn’t require much detective work since they have clear photographs of his face. Megan must now deal with the fact that she was living with a killer right under her nose, without ever realizing anything was amiss. If you don’t know the ending I won’t ruin it, but this is a very straight forward film with absolutely zero twists.

This brightly lit movie is devoid of emotion or atmosphere making for an excruciatingly slow and boring ride through the mind of (kind of) a mad man. His illness is unexplained and why he gets into crazy mode is poorly motivated. Most of it seems it be because of his childhood and parents, but this movie chooses not to explore or explain it. There’s no suspense, mainly because this movie, while unrated, would have little problem getting a PG rating. It’s no wonder this played on cable television’s Lifetime channel. We rarely see Philip interact with the girls and the opening act plays as if the filmmakers don’t want to clue us into what he’s capable of. Instead they are happy with Detective Bennet telling it in the end. A classic case for show don’t tell being a bad rule to break.

The story is split into three perfectly timed thirty minute arcs. The first half an hour is literally a guy sneaking around on Craigslist and cheating on his fiancee. The second act is him actually robbing and accidentally killing. Philip is one of the stupidest criminals. He somehow gives away a clear shot of his face to security cameras, even though he wears hats. He helps an old lady into an elevator after one of the crimes. When he shops at a hardware store he buys only supplies that a serial killer would purchase, including disposable cell phones (this is all strange since he never really uses anything except a 9mm hand gun and some plastic ties). The trail he leaves could be found by a blind detective. Which is where William Baldwin enters the picture. Anyone who’s seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall will have a hard time not thinking of Baldwin’s one-liners on the fake police procedural show featured in that film. “It’s going to be hard for her to reenter the pageant… without a face. — He was either stabbed in the aorta or it was his time of the month.” The second act mostly consists of Philip looking at Craigslists ads while Megan runs around preparing for the wedding and Detective Bennett wanders around crime scenes.

The third act is where the real movie lies. The performances step up (especially Agnes Bruckner and William Baldwin) as Megan must face the fact that Philip is not he man she thought he was. While the story starts to get interesting we’re betrayed when Philip and the filmmakers take the easy way out (OK, so I ruined it a little, but believe me, it was in shambles before I got to it). Don’t expect any sort of exploration of characters here, this is an open and shut case of uninspired work. Flat characters, subdued performances, wooden dialogue, stand-offish direction and nonexistent cinematography mark The Craigslist Killer as 2011’s most boring hour and a half. Some true stories should be embellished. Don’t rent this unless you’d consider yourself a demographic of Lifetime.

Director: Stephen Kay
Stars: Jake McDorman, Agnes Bruckner, William Baldwin

2 thoughts on “The Craigslist Killer (2011) – Review

  • November 7, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    Lmao .. no twist or anything?? You jackasses !! U do know this is based on s True story right?? Everybody remembers the craiglist killer I thought.. anyways if its a true story then of course its very straight forward.. there was really nothing crazy about the true story,, other then he was meeting girls online and ended up killing one.. remember morons TRUE STORY!!

  • April 17, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    I am sorry for the language i am going to use but THIS MOVIE IS A SHITTED OUT TURD FROM THE PRODUCERS they produced shit it is terrible,no ironic twists,poor investigation by detectives,too much bullshit personal life made up and worst of all like what you said its only PG if it was good it couldn’t be on t.v,I bet the serial killer in N.Y going on works with Microsoft,has a big social life and commits killings across the country while on business trips the only reason why they commit all these killings is because they got a std in there late teens or early 20s and have all this anger towards them so they kill them.This is a video link of a interview of Philip Markoff if you are interested in it he seems like a good guy but is not.


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