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B.T.K.
cast: Kane Hodder, Amy Lyndon, John Burke, Daniel Bonjour, and Sarah Shoup

director: Michael Feifer

83 minutes (18) 2007
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Lions Gate DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 5/10
reviewed by James A. Stewart
There are some films out there where the title gives a lot away about the plot. For example, Saving Private Ryan is about, well, saving a private called Ryan. Then there are others that are so far removed from the plot you wonder where the hell they came up with the title. In the case of B.T.K. once you know what the acronym stands for it makes the likely content of this part-biopic easy to fathom: Bind, Torture, Kill.

The B.T.K. killer was actually a genuine serial killer in America. But BTK, as in the movie, should not be thought of as being a full-on biopic as there are a few more films out there that predate this one but carry a moniker including BTK somewhere in the title.

In this offering, Dennis Rader (Kane Hodder) is the serial killer who proudly proclaims his love of BTK when acting out his 'art' on his victims. Despite the obvious cheapness of this film, Hodder is surprisingly convincing as the twisted Rader and keeps this film on track despite the ponderous pace that blights the film. As it goes, B.T.K. is standard serial killer fare. It brings nothing new to the genre and, in essence, regurgitates old ideas. Arguably this is to be expected when working on a story that is partly true, but the makers have moved away from Rader's original story enough to have at least allowed themselves some poetic licence beyond what we have seen in many a serial killer flick in years gone past.

Which in many ways leads to the main issue with B.T.K. the movie; it is nothing more than cheap exploitation of the aficionados of this genre. It smacks of a quick to market movie to attract bloodthirsty fans. If you have enough blind loyalty to this type of film then you'll likely enjoy B.T.K. regardless. If, however, you prefer your serial killer films to be a bit cleverer than your average B-grade offering, you may be disappointed at the pace and plot of this particular serving.

This is a movie that is somewhere near 'C' on the alphabet scale of movie definition. Its B-movie credentials are never in doubt. It is okay without being great and is short enough at 83 minutes not to be too expensive an investment when it comes to your precious time. If you want a thought-free hour-and-half of killing then get B.T.K. If you'd prefer something a bit more challenging to your intellect, look elsewhere.

PS: this shouldn't put off those who are interested in finding out more about Rader's biography. With a body count running into double figures, Rader can safely be described as evil and sadistic. His early life showed all the warning signs that we have come to associate with such killers. Then after that the story turns brutal.
NEXT

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