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For a DTV release, B.T.K. is actually a really good movie.
on April 17, 2009
Kane Hodder returns to horror yet again with the release of B.T.K. on DVD. Not to be confused with Ulli Lommel's movie, B.T.K. Killer, Kane Hodder plays Dennis Radar in the new Lionsgate release which is inspired by the true story. Keep in mind that this isn't the first time Kane has portrayed a real serial killer. A couple years ago he starred in another direct-to-video feature which was based on the story of Ed Gein, entitled Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainfield. While the Ed Gein movie wasn't that great, this one is. It's a huge improvement for Hodder and it's nice to see that there's a straight-to-video release that's actually good. As you can imagine, I had no hopes in seeing this. The only reason why I bothered to watch it is because I am a fan of Kane Hodder and his work. Rather than having it sit on my shelf to collect dust, I popped it in my DVD player the day after I received it. I was shocked at how into the movie I was. The story sucked me in and the acting alone made it enjoyable.
In the movie, Hodder portrays Dennis Radar (the infamous BTK killer). B.T.K is an abreviation which stands for the words "Bind, Torture, and Kill." Radar appeared to be your average family man. He worked as a compliance supervisor in the city, he went to church and he raised a family with his wife, Susan. In 2005, Dennis confessed to the serial killing of 10 people in the Wichita, Kansas area from 1974 to 1991. In the movie we follow Dennis at work, home and in his corrupt mind as he binds and tortures his victims (mostly middle aged females). Dennis acts out his need for power and control by preying on and murdering innocent people on the streets and in their own homes. He is quickly deemed the "B.T.K" killer by the police who have been receiving his letters for years. It would seem that Dennis is trying to get his name out there as the "B.T.K. Killer."
B.T.K. does a great job of staying true to the story. While most of it is dramatized for entertainment, the script is based on facts from the actual case. Unlike the more bizarre killers such as Dahmer and Bundy, Radar appeared to be your average Christian family man. This film focuses on Dennis Radar's struggle to contain his urge and hide it from the ones he loved. As time passes, Dennis's wife begins to question his strange ways. Since Dennis wasn't very close to his two teenage daughters, they didn't bother to question his daily routine. Dennis would often leave early for work, come back smelling like a sewer, and then shower. After having dinner with his family, he would go to his work shed near the backyard where Dennis kept all of his materials. On his desk, there were the pieces of rope he used to tie up his victims. Dennis used the desk to write letters to the police and send them directly to the police station himself to prevent being traced back to the house.
I was amazed and smiling to myself when I was watching the movie. I just couldn't believe how true they stayed to the actual story. Overall, I really enjoyed the movie and, for that, there are a few good reasons. Kane Hodder's performance as the B.T.K. killer was noteworthy. He did exactly what he needed to do with the part. In fact, this might actually be his best performance yet. While the actresses portraying his family were mediocre and slightly over dramatic, Hodder knocks it out of the park with his acting. In most of these movies based on real life killers we normally see what goes down in the local police department. In this movie, the main focus is on B.T.K. and his family. We only get to see the police near the end of the film when they're tracing the murders back to Dennis.
I give most of the credit to Michael Feifer who wrote and directed the film. His script and direction was surprisingly good. It was so good, in fact, that the I enjoyed the scenes with Dennis doing his job as a compliance officer more than all the gruesome bits that actually made this a horror movie. The death scenes felt more like a plus to an already entertaining story. The special effects are fine for a low budget movie. Fans that are into gore will be content with the amount of blood on screen. Like most films, B.T.K. is far from perfect. Some of the acting was a bit off and the editing near the beginning felt too bizarre for a film set in the real world, but it actually made the movie truly enjoyable. Don't be fooled by the lack of marketing for the film. For a direct-to-video release, B.T.K. is actually a really good movie.