Son of Sam (DVD Review)7 Sep, 2008 By: Matt Miller
Rated 'R' for violent content and language.
Stars Yogi Joshi, Nola Roper, Gunter Ziegler, Christian Behm, Max Inglewood, Scott Espenshade, Jack Quinn, Bud Watson.
Legendary German horror actor/director Ulli Lommel expands his serial killer filmography with the direct-to-video release Son of Sam, about infamous New York madman David Berkowitz (played by Joshi, who bares an eerie resemblance to the real killer).
The film takes place following Berkowitz's arrest, as he recounts details of the murders and the satanic cult he claims drove him to kill.
Unlike Spike Lee's Summer of Sam, this low-budget crime thriller focuses on the killer and his descent into madness instead of the community and victims terrorized by Berkowitz during his yearlong killing spree in the late 1970s.
This dramatized account, told through flashbacks, delves into the paranoid-schizophrenic mind of Berkowitz as he aimlessly wanders the streets of New York listening to the voices in his head and from his neighbor's dog that command him to kill those whose inner demons make themselves visible.
Along the way, the film sheds light on the cult that allegedly indoctrinated Berkowitz into its satanic movement, turning him into a merciless, blood-hungry monster let loose on the city to carry out its dirty work.
Following in the footsteps of recent big-screen serial killer films such as Zodiac and The Black Dahlia, horror master Lommel puts his unique spin on Son of Sam to craft an intriguing, diabolical thriller. Relying on newcomer Joshi in his first lead role, along with a quirky supporting cast including Gunter Ziegler, who is featured in the recent theatrical release Get Smart, the film takes on an arthouse feel without all the blood and gore.
Audiences are drawn to films based on the stories of real-life serial killers, especially when they offer a fresh perspective on a well-known story, which is what helps Son of Sam stand out from its predecessors.