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film review

Ryan Reynolds plays cereal-eating serial killer Jerry Hickfang.Reiner Bajo

One is the loneliest number, and the cereal-eating serial killer Jerry Hickfang is a lonely man indeed. In a gory black comedy splashed with hot pinks, blood reds and pop psychiatry, a small-town shipping clerk is off his meds and out of his mind. Portrayed with an awkward sort of sweetness by Ryan Reynolds, Jerry inherited his dementia from his homesick mother.

He converses with his chatty pets – a terrible tabby named Mr. Whiskers who coaches evil in a Scottish brogue, and a sensible canine who offers sound, mutt-faced advice.

Think of this stylish, quirky and quite grisly feature from Marjane Satrapi as a meeting of Psycho, Dexter and Dr. Doolittle.

A psychiatrist tries to help Jerry, a confused fellow who wonders if his homicidal tendencies represent who he was born to be or who he chooses to be. It's a question the film muddles with ideas on music – cast member Anna Kendrick has to sing, right? – and isolation. "Being alone in the world is the root of all suffering," Jerry is told. For his part, Jerry kills in the name of ending the suffering. But the heads in his fridge are not of lettuce. They won't shut up, and neither will the dark thoughts in his mind. It's too much to handle, and sometimes Satrapi's film is, too. A little quiet, please.