Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer

Critics Consensus

This chilling, unsettling documentary provides an eye-opening look at both Wuornos and the American justice system.



Reviews Counted: 59

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User Ratings: 7,282


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Reviews Count: 0
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Average Rating: 3.5/5

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Movie Info

Nick Broomfield's documentary looks at Aileen's violent, tortured childhood in Troy, Michigan and her subsequent years on the road as a hitch-hiking prostitute which culminated in the murders. In her last interview, conducted by Broomfield at Aileen's request, she said she believed her mind was being controlled by radio waves. On October 9th 2002 she was executed in Florida.

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Critic Reviews for Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer

All Critics (59) | Top Critics (22)

The film stands quite chillingly as a final statement from a woman trying to fight her own commodification.

May 21, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

A haunting exploration of a ruined and wasted life.

Apr 23, 2004 | Rating: 4/5

[T]his movie literally gave me the chills.

Feb 13, 2004 | Full Review…

Engrossing, educational, amusing and disturbing.

Feb 13, 2004

Provides an opportunity to study one of history's supposed anomalies: a female serial killer.

Feb 13, 2004 | Full Review…

Does afford a real-life view of Wuornos during the days of her final appeal and her ultimate date with death.

Feb 13, 2004 | Rating: B

Audience Reviews for Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer


Broomfield's second film about Aileen sheds more light on her life and her mind after a decade on death row but also feels like an appendix of his first film, a bit redundant for anyone who has seen that one and not much more than an excuse for closure after her execution.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Nick Bloomfield's follow up to Selling of a Serial Killer is a much more rounded out film than the previous film. In the first film, Aileen Wuornos told her jury that she committed the murders in self defense. In this film, she admits that she did it not out of self defense, but in order to rob them. I felt that Bloomfield put a lot more effort into this film and it has new interviews with Wuornos and how she is prepared to face her execution. The film is quite interesting and using footage from the first film, while adding new interviews, it tells a more in depth story into her life. Bloomfield interviews the people who knew her, and chronicles her life in a way that is quite engaging for the viewer. The detail in this documentary is well thought out. This film shows everything right up to her execution. Aileen Wuornos was interviewed many times here and her final interview before her execution is here. In terms of documentaries, this is a well rounded out documentary that recounts a very interesting subject. Wournos was very delusional, and during her last interview she just loses it. Overall Nick Bloomfield has made a great film, but is not a film for everyone. She clearly was unfit for execution and she was fairly insane. Even with her being cleared by psychologists, by what you see here, you really see that this is a woman that is clearly not sane, and should have been given life imprisonment instead. This film might make you ask questions about how executions should be carried out and that people with mental illness should be locked up instead. A fine documentary, and a must see for those interested in the subject.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

Once again, Broomfield makes a successful case from Aileen for Aileen. The film is much ado about nothing, but you can't lose the opportunity to cash the case.

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

Subpoenaed as a witness at a late appeal by Aileen Wuornos against her death sentence, filmmaker Nick Broomfield received a heaven-sent opportunity to improve upon his disappointing documentary The Selling of a Serial Killer. Having watched both films in close succession, the most disturbing thing about Life and Death... is Wuornos' very evident mental deterioration in the intervening years. When Broomfield first met Aileen she was angry and defiant, slightly delusional perhaps, but perfectly lucid; here, after a decade on death row, she is still angry and defiant but there are times when she can barely follow a thought to its conclusion or string a coherent sentence together. She resembles one of those caged animals that has been held in captivity too long, going round in circles, dreaming up ever more paranoid fantasies of police corruption and her own persecution. Even if you manage to convince yourself that the act of executing a person who is mentally ill is not in itself unconstitutionally cruel, dangling the hangman's noose in front of a sane person for so long that she becomes, by her own admission, "so fucking mad I can't see straight" surely is. Very depressing but utterly riveting.

Stephen M
Stephen M

Super Reviewer

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