Northern Minnesota, mid December. Two kids are messing about in the snow, when one of them discovers the top of a skull poking out of a frozen lake. It’s not just a skull either. When the local police turn up they discover it’s the whole deal; a complete partially de-fleshed skeleton and its mounted on a pole with a concrete base. Well, before too long another three turn up and the killer’s name is sealed as the H-61 killer as all the bodies are found close to Highway 61.
Baffled by lack of evidence the local cops call in retired profiler Saul Aitkin (Gabriele Angieri), only just as Aitkin gets to grips with the case he’s abducted from his hotel by the killer. Secreted in an isolated farm Saul and the killer indulge in a battle of wits as the killer (Joey Pollari) challenges Saul to use his profiling skills to prevent him from killing again. It’s a race against time for FBI Special Agent Rachel Cade (Emily Fradenburgh) to track down the killer and his hostage.
This is a great little thriller with some real edge of seat suspense. What I thought was the masterstroke was the casting of Joey Pollari as the teenage killer David. There’s something deeply disturbing about a teen that not only murders but then de-fleshes and mounts his victims as if they are museum exhibits and Pollari really carried off David’s single-minded psychotic determination, while maintaining an edge of teenage vulnerability in his scenes with Angieri. Angieri’s performance as the profiler who starts to develop paternal feelings toward David despite his twisted evil personality is also very good.
The bleak white out of Minnesota’s farmlands and the decrepit farm building that the Joey and Aitkin are holed up in are stunningly art directed by Michael Nissen and this really adds to the chilling atmosphere of the story as it unfolds. In that way it reminded me a lot of the Scandinavian noirs of Henning Mankell and Arnaldur Indridason.
I give Profile of a Killer a 555/666
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Review by Simon Ball
Connect with Simon: @RealShipsCook or here
For your further reading pleasure:
Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell: On a frozen January morning Inspector Wallander responds to a routine call-out to find a blood bath at an isolated farm. This is the first Wallander investigation, but they are all excellent as was the Swedish TV version with Krister Henrikkson.
Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason: Indridason’s detective, Erlendur is even more dysfunctional than Wallander and you won’t believe what Jar city is.