Relayed in flashback, this moody psycho-thriller is based on the true story of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, told in very much the same gritty style as John McNaughton's Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Robert Burns, production designer on numerous horror films, steps in front of the camera this time for his low-key portrayal of imprisoned killer Daniel Ray Hawkins, who tells his grisly life story to the sheriff who collared him. He spins a grim tale of childhood abuses, his years as a teenage runaway, and his first foray into thrill-killing at an early age, followed by an association with Moon (Dennis Hill) and Moon's sister Molly (Sidney Brammer), who accompanied him on several rape-murder escapades. When the sheriff doubts Hawkins' story, he proceeds to lay out the details of the final series of bloody crimes which ended in his eventual capture. To viewers familiar with the critically-acclaimed McNaughton film, this will likely appear as a blow-by-blow copy (being based on the same source material)... but where Henry's flat, non-judgmental documentary style served to amplify the horror of the proceedings, this film's depiction of the killings draws too heavily on slasher-movie conventions, which rob the story of its potency. The performers deserve credit for their subtlety and creepy authenticity, but the final product still comes across like an extended episode of America's Most Wanted.
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