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Cyrus (2010)

cyrus posterAn independent TV reporter and her cameraman interview a man in regards to a serial killer the man knew by the name of Cyrus. The man traces back through the story of the serial killer and why he became the monster he is.

Not to be confused with the Jonah Hill starring comedy film of the same name, Cyrus: Mind of a Serial killer is a 2010 horror film which I’m guessing not many people will have seen. I hope I’m wrong, but it bounced around some film festivals before ending up on DVD here in the UK, and I can’t find any information about how much the film actually grossed.

Another movie with the ‘based on real events‘ tagline, research tells me that it is based on the serial killer ‘Fritz Haarmann’, with some other influences thrown in for good measure.

cyrus danielle harris

The movie shows an independent television reporter Maria (Danielle Harris) who along with her cameraman Greg (Corey Gibbons) forms a small independent news crew. They are following up a lead and head out to interview a man who has information regarding a serial killer known as ‘Cyrus‘ or more affectionately ‘The County Line Cannibal’. The man they are interviewing is Emmett (played by Lance Henriksen) and then the movie shows us in flashbacks and cut-aways who Cyrus (Brian Krause) is and why he does what he does.

cyrus interview

Danielle Harris interviewing Lance Henriksen

Emmett seems to have intimate knowledge of Cyrus’s killing methods, and recounts the tales of the County Line Cannibal’s final 7 victims to the small crew, explaining the disappearance of three young college girls the reporters were initially investigating. Emmett tells how Cyrus pretty much went completely insane and killed his wife, the person she was cheating with, and their son, and then pulled a ‘Sweeney Todd’ and started serving people at his restaurant. He would kill people for just about any reason, or sometimes, no reason at all. How does he know this stuff? C’mon, you know I’m not going to spoil anything. I will say that whilst it may sound straight forward, there is definitely enough on show here to surprise and entertain.

Cyrus - Brian Krause

Cyrus – Brian Krause

It’s a low-budget movie for sure. There aren’t too many locations used, but it still looks good and never gets boring. There is a bit of the red stuff on show, but don’t be expecting a blood bath here folks. Aside from a few snippets of murder and torture, a lot of the movie is about the mystery and suspense, and whilst it was a different approach to what I was expecting when I saw they were hunting a serial killer, I enjoyed it. Yet I see this film has actually been banned in a few countries, maybe I’m just too desensitized if I thought this was quite tame.

The main criticisms I have seen when researching this is people saying it’s a cliché-ridden affair that plays out like almost every other serial killer-profiling horror movie out there. I mean, yeah, all the stereotypes for every serial killer are there. He’s a loner, he was abused as a child and he had bad relationships with women. But this isn’t the movies fault as such, as if it is based on true events and real life serial killers, then the villain here has to have these traits surely? Otherwise he wouldn’t fit the mould of any serial killer they are taking stories from. I also saw a few people label it with the dreaded ‘torture porn‘ tag. I swear people say that as they have heard it somewhere and feel they will seem cool if they throw it out there. I hate the term, and it definitely doesn’t apply to this film.

cyrus 1

Henriksen and Krause are the stand outs here. Despite being a huge fan of the beautiful Danielle Harris, she doesn’t have a lot to work with, as most of her scenes are interviewing Henriksen’s character. He is excellent and gives a superb and subtle performance as the man with all the information. Equally, Krause excels as the killer, flipping from a nice calm man one minute, to a psychotic hunting rapist the next. Their performances deserve to be seen by a wider audience.

Wrapping up, there are a lot of serial killer films out there. This isn’t up there trying to compete with ‘The Silence of the Lambs’. And if you are looking for an excellent low-budget film in this mould then maybe you should check out the much superior ‘Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer‘. However, Cyrus is a good, solid entry into the genre, but nothing more I’m afraid. The main 3 leads all give great performances that are at least worthy of your time, and I hope at least some of you are tempted to give this a watch if you ever get the chance.

5 stars

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35 Comments

  1. we share some pretty similar feelings. I think overall, all I can really say is: “I kind of liked this movie.”

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    • Yeah, thats my feelings, I kinda just wish I could of said that as my review! Sometimes its hard, and aside from the decent performances there is nothing astounding or bad here. Its different (ish) and people could do a lot worse! Cheers Matt 🙂

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  2. Honestly, If LANCE HENRIKSEN Is In It, I’ll See It. Doesn’t Mean It’ll Be Good… …But I’ll Still See It. 😉

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    • Good stuff man!! He is more than alright here, you know, just quiet, subdued mostly, but he is great. And there is a nice payoff 🙂

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  3. gregory moss

     /  January 19, 2013

    Nice work, Tyson! I’m a massive Lance Henriksen fan. Kinda’ ironic what with him playing a hunter of serial killers in Millennium and now he’s playing one himself. I had the great fortune of chatting with him at a movie convention a couple of years ago (he signed my Piranha II poster!). He was very gracious and told me some funny stories about the making of James Cameron’s debut. I must check out his autobiography ‘Not Bad For A Human’. He’d have heaps of amusing stories to tell. 🙂

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    • Henriksen is just a man who KNOWS about the serial killer…..somehow….. 😉

      Thats cool that you met him Greg, and more importantly that he was nice! Cheers dude 🙂

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      • gregory moss

         /  January 19, 2013

        Damn! I must’ve skipped over that bit – I don’t generally read plot descriptions in film reviews. 🙂

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      • Lol! – No not really. I’m more interested in the ‘tone’ of a film rather than the plot (ironic I know – coming from someone who writes screenplays!). And if it’s someone’s opinion I trust – like your good self for example – then all I really need to know is whether it’s worth watching or not. 🙂

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        • Bit of flattery and ill let you off 😉

          I’m guilty of the same sometimes, normally a film I’ve heard of well enough. I always like to start my reviews with the plot though, just in case 🙂

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  4. jenkakio

     /  January 20, 2013

    I totally thought this was the Jonah Hill’s Cyrus. I kinda got excited for that moment, because it’s a movie I actually saw. 🙂

    Anyways, well, I didn’t see this movie, so I don’t know if my comment even matters at this point. Despite the whole low-budget-ness and cliche-ness, I think I would still watch this movie. I do like mystery and suspense movie and serial killers are somewhat fascinating. Although 5/10 is a pretty low rate, but I think this could be one of those movies to have in the background while doing homework or something. Thanks for the review.

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    • Yeah I wanted to clarify the name early on so I didn’t lure people in under false pretences. I actually liked the Jonah hill version as it goes! 🙂

      Yeah 5/10, I mean its average, and I didn’t know how else to score it really. Not one I’d recommend people go out of their way to watch, but as you say, if its on there are worse ways to spend 90 minutes!

      Thanks for the comment, always appreciated 🙂

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  5. wordschat

     /  January 20, 2013

    Another to add to NY list. If I watch it while eating a couple bowls of corn flakes does that make me a cereal killer?

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    • Here all night folks 😉 Ah comedians. 🙂

      It’s not a bad little film, but not as good as some others I’ve hopefully pointed you in the direction of!

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  6. jmount43

     /  January 20, 2013

    I actually own this movie. Still, owning it and liking it are two different things. 5/10 seems appropriate.

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  7. When I saw the title of your movie I thought what a wild coincidence, I just finished watching Cyrus this morning. The Jonah Hill version that I will be reviewing this week. lol Great review Tyson.

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    • Yup thought it may confuse a few people! I look forward to your review, just change it up and review this horror version instead!

      Cheers buddy 🙂

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  8. how did I miss this?gotta check it out soon, good review!

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  9. Seems like anything Henriksen is in nowadays is so obscure that nobody is aware of it until someone mentions it in passing.

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  10. Danielle Harris? Count me in. I just love her. She’s the only reason I watched Rob Zombie’s atrocious Halloween remakes.

    This seems somewhat interesting, I’ll look for it. Thanks for the heads up!

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  11. wordschat

     /  January 21, 2013

    After seeing Mama I paid five bucks and saw this on a streaming service. Knowing it based on true events perhaps subconsciously made the brutality of his killings more real. This guy makes Ted Bundy an amateur. Disturbing even for one who has read some true life crime but watchable.

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    • At least you didnt hate it! Always a worry when I recommend something.

      I normally worry with the whole ‘true story’ thing, but yeah the guy this was based on was a messed up guy, so it gave them a big license to play around with here. Thanks for giving it a watch 🙂

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  12. I am surprised I haven’t heard about this one. Good cast for an unknown movie.

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