Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Reviews

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Top Critic
John Hartl
Seattle Times
September 16, 2014
In a world in which eight nearly identical Friday the 13th movies offer the adventures of Jason the ax-murderer as entertainment for teen-agers, maybe we do need this sobering alternative.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
John Wooley
Tulsa World
September 16, 2014
A powerful, original look at the hopeless urban underclass in the American city, where lost people nibble at the garbage of our culture -- in a kind of perverse application of the "trickle-down" theory -- hating themselves and us all the while.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
John Ferguson
Radio Times
September 16, 2014
McNaughton's rough, non-judgemental direction gives the film a stylishly chilling documentary feel, while the killer's use of a camcorder asks some challengingly uncomfortable questions about voyeurism and the nature of screen violence.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Candice Russell
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
August 12, 2013
A drama of vivid intensity, it has all the marks of a well-made, thoughtful film that does not exploit violence for its own sake or make killing a source of entertainment.
Top Critic
Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
August 12, 2013
The film is an honest and disturbing attempt to come to grips with the sort of modern horror that we must -- more urgently every day -- try to understand.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Gary Thompson
Philadelphia Daily News
August 12, 2013
This movie is not really about a killer, but about killing -- the way killing is depicted in the movies and the way movie audiences have been conditioned to react to such violence.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Desmond Ryan
Philadelphia Inquirer
August 12, 2013
The difference between John McNaughton's incredibly chilling film and the usual serving of screen carnage is the difference between the mind of a murderer and the cynical and manipulative depiction of mindless murder.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Sheila Benson
Los Angeles Times
August 12, 2013
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is as fine a film as it is a brutally disturbing one.
Top Critic
Dave Kehr
Chicago Tribune
August 12, 2013
McNaughton's direction combines a strict social realism with a cool, Fritz Langian sense of pre-determination, while his work with actors has the improvisational freshness of a John Cassavetes.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
R.L. Shaffer
IGN Movies
October 8, 2012
The film is diabolically driven by Michael Rooker, who embodies the fractured, disconnected personality of Henry.
Full Review | Original Score: 9/10

Total Film
October 8, 2012
The flipside of the '80s teen slasher genre, John McNaughton's movie manages to go beyond the disquieting, distressing or even disturbing. It's downright dismaying.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Christopher Lloyd
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
September 5, 2011
From a technical standpoint, Henry is amateurish. But ultimately it's not the gilded frame that made it a modern horror classic, but its unblinking portrait of a remorseless killer who stares back at the audience and forces them to turn away.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5

October 20, 2008
McNaughton, co-writer Richard Fire and Rooker have pulled off an amazing feat -- a portrait of a damaged mind that refuses to explain, judge or glamorize psychopathic violence.

Empire Magazine
October 20, 2008
This is sicko territory with a vengeance but certainly has an impact.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
October 20, 2008
Certainly not for everyone, but if slasher movies are your cup of tea this is a lot better than most, and the use of Chicago locations is especially effective.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Cole Smithey
December 5, 2007
Genuinely frightening.
| Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
April 16, 2007
[T]his is a movie that will anger and frighten audiences... Many will also find this one of the most impressive film debuts of the '80s.
Emanuel Levy
December 5, 2006
McNughton's film has both suspense and graphic violence, combining a clinical approach with semi-documentary technique that result in genuinely disturbing horror, deepling upsetting look at a murderer; a highlight of indie cinema of the 1990s.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Michael Dequina
October 28, 2006
| Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Nigel Floyd
Time Out
June 24, 2006
McNaughton's compelling study of a blithe sociopath makes the flesh crawl and the mind reel.
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