Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Reviews

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½ October 29, 2015
Still a better love story than Twilight.
½ April 28, 2011
Very very good. I'm quite speechless. Michael Rooker was brilliant.
October 13, 2015
A very raw and violent deception of a serial killer. Perhaps too realistic because the life of a serial killer between killings isn't all that interesting. But when spit hits the fan it will have your attention.
July 22, 2015
Not the best serial killer movie I've seen (with two of my favourites being Zodiac starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Dahmer starring Jeremy Renner), but considering this is one of the first mainstream serial killer films, it did well. Many of the scenes involving violence were dark and gave me an intense feeling in my heart. You can really feel the thrill that the main character gives you with his changing emotions. Overall, the film's acting wasn't very good and the feel of the movie was slightly trashy. Some of the scene also didn't make sense to even exist and I felt they were there just to make the movie longer. The cinematography was nothing new. My final thoughts of this movie are that this films as a little overrated and could have been executed better, but overall was a decent movie and I guess I'd say I enjoyed it.
July 22, 2015
Not the best serial killer movie I've seen (with two of my favourites being Zodiac starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Dahmer starring Jeremy Renner), but considering this is one of the first mainstream serial killer films, it did well. Many of the scenes involving violence were dark and gave me an intense feeling in my heart. You can really feel the thrill that the main character gives you with his changing emotions. Overall, the film's acting wasn't very good and the feel of the movie was slightly trashy. Some of the scene also didn't make sense to even exist and I felt they were there just to make the movie longer. The cinematography was nothing new. My final thoughts of this movie are that this films as a little overrated and could have been executed better, but overall was a decent movie and I guess I'd say I enjoyed it.
½ May 13, 2015
81% on my Tomatometer.
May 3, 2015
Really good, although very unsettling so be warned.
May 1, 2015
Truly believable and frightful depiction of a serial killer's life and "motives". The part of Michael Rooker is just fascinating to watch.
½ April 2, 2015
Ever so slightly interesting peek into the mind of a killer.
½ October 23, 2011
One of the most disturbing movies I've ever seen
Super Reviewer
½ March 29, 2015
Apart from the solid performances, there's little else to praise in this mediocre film that mistakenly believes that resorting to shocking, purposeless violence is enough to draw what it assumes to be the "portrait of a serial killer", instead of developing his motivations.
March 16, 2015
Serial killer films have become their own genre of filmmaking with all of their own tropes and stereotypes, but before all of that started, director John McNaughton brought us a gritty and terrifying look into the mind of a disturbed individual with Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Even almost 30 years later this film still has the power to shock and horrify audiences, because of its minimalist approach to telling the story. It doesn't feel like McNaughton is pulling out a bunch of tricks to manipulate the audience, instead it feels like he captured these events on film, and we're just watching them play out.

There's a dirtiness and grime to this film that coats everything it touches. This definitely applies to Michael Rooker who plays the titular character in an uneasy performance that is both charismatic and tense. You never really know what is going on in Henry's mind, but you don't really want to know either. As you watch him in awkward social interactions, you can tell he's not comfortable in normal human interactions. However, you see his real personality come out when he's taunting his victims. Playing with them like a cat with a mouse moments before carelessly disposing of them when they become inconvenient to him. It's a stark performance that will give you chills.

And with Tom Towles to play against, Rooker and Towles have plenty of fun together. As they have fun with murder, you are watching with delight and horror. It's a complicated film that plays with all of your emotions, leaving you feeling guilty for enjoying it as much as you did.
½ February 14, 2015
-IGNORE THIS RATING
3.5/4
Extraordinarily powerful portrait of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, who thinks killing is not a crime but simply a way of passing time and relieving boredom. Absolutely searing performances, brilliantly directed, but often extremely difficult to watch; infamous "Television sale scene" is one of the most intense scenes in film history. Not easily enjoyable, and certainly not for all taste, but for a film that takes on such an evil character and shows him as a actual person deserves attention. [NC-17]
January 12, 2015
After recently meeting each other:
Girl: I was raped by my father and recently came out of another bad relationship
Guy: That's cool, My mother beat me and made me watch her whore out to other men, then I killed her and now I'm a serial killer...
Girl: we have such a connection!

This was when I stopped watching.
January 12, 2015
Creepy, nasty film - but worth four points because its so alarming to view something so coldly from a serial killers supposed viewpoint. Chilling.
December 29, 2014
Christmas fun for all the family.
February 8, 2012
Its kinda slow but pretty disturbing. I liked it but I don't think i'd watch it again.
½ December 6, 2014
An enthralling character study, soaked in blood. This movie is brutal, and horrifying, and unrelentingly disturbing, but it doesn't take away from the incredible performances and the superb story it tells. It was released in a time when serial killing was as rampant an epidemic as school shootings. It reflects on the inner-workings of a killer, and those who are inspired to copy those that kill. Weak constitution or not, you should be entertained by this expertly made horror film.
½ October 6, 2014
Rooker killin Hookers.
½ November 3, 2014
Of all the horror movies I have ever seen, I find Henry to be the scariest. A punk-rock response to the famous teen slashers of the 80's, the plot makes me anxious just to think of it. The story is very simple: it's just the day-to-day life of a Chicago serial killer (played by the legendary Michael Rooker), a man profiled for us to observe. We watch as everyday people, who could easily be us, be randomly murdered. A film can make you feel bad just for watching it, but that doesn't mean it's a bad movie. In fact, this is one of the best horror movies I've ever seen, because it is truly horrific. The filmmakers do an excellent job of normalizing the horror of unrelenting murder and making it feel true to life.
Rated NC-17 and exploitative as fuck, it has a world view of chaos and unimaginable darkness. Throughout the movie, the audience doesn't see the attacks, but we hear the echos of them as the camera slowly zooms in on the still silence of the most recent victim. This is ultimately more haunting than a stylized action scene. We see the emptiness of humanity with each kill and it is borderline pornographic. To worsen the effect, we spend so much time with Henry and within his life, that one could potentially develop a sympathy for the monster. That notion reminded me of Peeping Tom. The film is as casual with violence as it is with the friendly conversations Henry has with his roommate Otis & Otis' sister, Tracy. Each of these characters has a background of sexual abuse but it's more alluded to than shown, thus leaving the viewer to dwell on the dark connection between lust and murder.
This movie offers no hint of a police investigation or justice for Henry's crimes. It's simply a showcase for the mundanity of evil. For the first time in my adult life I could almost agree with the censors on the excess of depravity. This is a valuable movie from a critical perspective, but after watching this you can see why some would want to ban it in hopes that it won't inspire future sociopaths.
Watch only if you have the stomach for this level of unyielding graphic violence. If you can handle the first 5 minutes, congratulations and "enjoy" the remaining 78.
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