Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Critics Consensus

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is an effective, chilling profile of a killer that is sure to shock and disturb.

87%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 62

71%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 11,627

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Movie Info

Henry (Michael Rooker) is released from prison following his mother's murder. He supplements his job as an exterminator with a series of indiscriminate and violent murders. Fellow jailbird and drug dealer Otis (Tom Towles) becomes a willing accomplice in Henry's bloody killings. But as the depravity escalates and Henry forms a bond with Otis' sister, Becky (Tracy Arnold), things start to get out of hand. The film is based on the true-life story of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas.

Cast & Crew

Mary Demas
Dead Woman , Dead Prostitute
Elizabeth Kaden
Dead Couple - Wife
Ted Kaden
Dead Couple - Husband
Malik B. Ali
Executive Producer
Waleed B. Ali
Executive Producer
Mic Fabus
Original Music
Charlie Lieberman
Cinematographer
Elena Maganini
Film Editor
Rick Paul
Art Direction
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News & Interviews for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Critic Reviews for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

All Critics (62) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (54) | Rotten (8)

  • [Director John McNaughton] shows few of Henry's dozen or so crimes. Instead he reveals the victims, at the scenes of their deaths, in slow zoom shots accompanied by elegiac music. He is a coroner with a touch of the poet.

    April 21, 2020 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    September 16, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    August 12, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    August 12, 2013 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • Sure, it's compelling; the nature of the material guarantees that. But it doesn't seem to be telling us much more than that the world is a scary place and murder is ugly. We knew those things. This is tabloid chic.

    August 12, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is as fine a film as it is a brutally disturbing one.

    August 12, 2013 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

  • Jan 02, 2017
    Henry was a notorious film that got an NC-17 rating, it is a fictionalised account based on the real life serial killers. It is one of the first films to break away from the typical slasher genre, creating a sub-genre of films about real life serial killers. While it is on a shoestring budget, the special effects were fantastic and the solid acting by Rooker made it all the creepier. Aside from the graphic imagery, the film lacked a compelling plot, though it is succinct and had a nightmarish ending.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Mar 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.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 30, 2013
    [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Jun 27, 2013
    Loosely based on the life of Henry Lee Lucas, this is a raw, gritty and overall savage character study of a serial killer. This is a film that is brilliantly directed by John McNaughton, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is a disturbing picture that will definitely make you feel uneasy from start to finish. The movie is unflinching in its realism, and is not for the faint of heart. In terms of horror, this is one of the finest movies in the psychological horror genre. The cast deliver some impressive performances, especially Michael Rooker in a captivating and truly demented performance as the film's antagonist, Henry. Horror fans looking for a truly unique and uneasy genre picture will surely enjoy this movie, and for anyone looking for a well crafted and realistic horror yarn, this is one to watch. The movie is powerful in the sense that it can make you feel horrified, uncomfortable, and disturbed all at once, and is a rare horror film, especial this decade due to the fact that cinemas were overfilling with countless Slasher films, which are quite entertaining, but never achieved a sense of what a film like this could have pulled off. This is a horror film with a plot, and it successfully creates terror by its atmosphere and visuals as well as the performance of its lead actor. Like I said, Slashers are a mindless horror fun for the most part, that focuses on ridiculous kill sequences to create the carnage. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer on the other hand delivers some of the most truly disturbing images in horror history and you simply can't tear yourself away from such a movie. The film is a back to basics horror picture that doesn't use anything ridiculous to create the terror, the notion that is based on a real life serial killer is horrifying enough.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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