Movie Review: “A Guidebook To Killing Your Ex,” Or, Simply, Just Move On

“...this movie has a sense of realness that makes it all the more cringeworthy when John Doe actually goes through with his plans. The casual ease of John's actions gave me the impression that I wasn't watching a movie, but a snuff film.”


 

A lonely man with an intention of documenting every important detail is planning to kill his ex-girlfriend within 72 hours only to realize things are not as easy as he previously imagined.

Comedy mixed with drama? OK, not a bad idea. A found footage film out of Hungary attempts to make this duo into a trio by adding horror into the mix. Now, those are the ingredients to either a bold threesome or a great oncoming regret. Add hurt feelings and few Human Rights violations and you’ve got something akin to “A Guidebook to Killing Your Ex.” The movie introduces us to John Doe (Balázs Szitás), an odd man unwilling to tell us his real name, but just fine showing his smiling, unmasked face while recording himself openly commenting on and committing murder. Before the start of the footage – film, I should say – John tells us his story of lies and betrayal surrounding his ex and his intent to take his revenge. As the movie unfolds, it is made clear, not that it wasn’t obvious at the beginning, that John is neither a nice person nor a man with all of his marbles in the same bag.

I was somewhat surprised with “A Guidebook to Killing Your Ex,” on one hand, this is the most polite and easy going tutorial on homicide I’ve ever seen…John Doe gives us the run down, in horrifically specific detail, on the frugal nature needed if one intends to murder someone. Stalking and homicide are just not cheap hobbies, John Doe drives this point home quite frequently. On the other hand, this movie has a sense of realness that makes it all the more cringeworthy when John Doe actually goes through with his plans. The casual ease of John’s actions gave me the impression that I wasn’t watching a movie, but a snuff film. In that sense, “A Guidebook to Killing Your Ex” does a very subtle job of attempting to nail down its horror aspect.

Overall, I did not enjoy this movie. Nor would I consider “A Guidebook to Killing Your Ex” to be a horror film. Thriller seems too strong a word, so I will leave it at shocking. The film is shocking, at best. At worst, it plays almost like a cinematic snuff film that focuses on an unhinged man in the final days of a downward spiral. The comedy therein is not present, save for John laughing at himself, and if there was any element of drama, it must have occurred off camera because I saw none. The man holds little to no remorse for his actions and thus, destroys any attempt at drama there could have been.

Now available on Blu-ray & DVD


 

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