Insane Like Me? (2024)


Insane Like Me? Review

By the end of Insane Like Me? it is hard to tell what genre it fits into. The final act throws everything at the screen. It brings together ongoing arcs and stories, yes…but also a few left field ideas. There’s fun in that. But it feels odd after so many slower paced acts. However, there are aspects of Insane Like Me? that do not defy classification. In fact, these are the best parts of the movie and I wish it stuck with them as (intentionally) insane as things get later on. There is a good vampire killing revenge story here somewhere. Trying its best to keep its head above water.

It doesn’t take long into the party to discover why people have been disappearing, though we do not see this yet. The town is lousy with vampires. Our paranormal investigator gets his story alright by becoming the first victim of the night himself. Jake fights them off as best he can…but Samantha is abducted in all this messiness. Will was unconscious for this part…which doesn’t leave anyone to believe Jake’s claims about vampiric activity taking place during their absence from one another. If you think the sheriff did not like him before…the sole suspect in the (assumed) murder of his daughter does nothing to repair that relationship. Jake gets locked away in an institution and we skip nine years later.

The first act does a decent job introducing us to Jake and setting up the world of the film but has some pacing issues that haunt Insane Like Me?. What probably should have been a prologue instead functions as an entire first act. There was value in doing so. Jake’s emotional state is easier to connect with due to all time spent with him and Samantha. But having waited so long to get any momentum going makes it difficult for us when it finally comes.

Jake’s mental state is not great. He somehow manages to score his release from the institution by lying. Pretending his vampire story was all a made up fabrication and he wasn’t still seeing Samantha everywhere he looks. We know neither are true. And we know what he’s going to do when he gets back home. Jake’s quest to murder vampire on his way to discovering what happened to Samantha is the unquestioned highlight of Insane Like Me?. Bankhead brings us a believable badass with some mental scars. Whenever the movie focuses on this it does so for the better.

In the nine years since leaving, Jake has noticed that a lot of things have changed. Will now works as a deputy sheriff and he hates Jake almost as much as his father does. Crystal, Samantha’s little sister (Samantha Reddy), is all grown up and is the only member of the family who will give him the benefit of the doubt. Crystal and her friends take over for a bit, basically just some clear fodder groups tied to an obvious key character. Predictable? Sure, but it leads to Jake kicking vampire ass, and more of that is always good.

The second act is where most of the attention falls on Jake’s mission. There are still pacing problems but nearly everything furthers how far he’ll go in his quest, or how badly Samantha’s dad wants to stop him. What seemed like a clichéd take on the tough southern sheriff becomes more interesting by its climax it’s one of many wild moments the third act throws at you. Insane Like Me? really goes into hyperdrive in act 3, not every idea works, but they come too fast for you to think about whether they do or not.

What works in Insane Like Me? works well. Every scene that focuses on him raises Jake up as a compelling character hell, I’d follow this guy around myself if I could. It starts off folding out at such a slow pace before ramping up to a wild ride that it can’t pull off action scenes worthy enough for all that build up but focusing so intently on Jake (and those surrounding him) at least leads to some fun rides. Where those rides are taking us isn’t always be worth our time though.

Scare Value

The concept of “Insane Like Me?” is strong. That doesn’t mean it always overcomes what isn’t either though Bankhead creates a character worth following even when giving him somewhere worth going seems out of reach. Insane Like Me? is at its best when it’s playing vampire killing revenge story however, it plays that too patiently between its story beats.

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