Can any of us really ever get into the mind of a serial killer? How would you even start to enter into their sinister world or attempt to understand their evil acts and the psychotic perverse reasoning behind them? And if you did get a glimpse of what drove them to do the things they do what would the cost be to your soul and your sanity?
One man who could answer these questions and more was Jason Moss whose memoirs on his journey into the mind of several serial killers is the inspiration and source material for The Last Victim.
An average law student living in an all American suburb with his parents and younger brother Jason Moss (The Uninvited and Final Destination 3’s Jesse Moss, no relation) decides for his college thesis to attempt to try and get behind the media hype and understand the world of a serial killer by writing to them in prison poising as one of their victims.
Crafting a carefully written letter to mass murderer John Wayne Gacy (Devil’s Rejects William Forsythe) who is on death row awaiting his execution Jason portrays himself as a vulnerable innocent eager to learn and understand the motivation and mind of the infamous Killer Clown.
Securing Gacy’s trust the pair start to talk at first in letters then over the phone giving Jason everything he wished for however this dangerous game starts to spiral into chaos as Gacy gains more control and Jason starts to lose himself to the manipulating psychopath truly becoming the victim he was only supposed to be masquerading as.
Made all the more poignant by his suicide in 2006 Jason Moss’s story is a fascinating and disturbing one that translates to the big screen perfectly. In real life Jason actually corresponded with several serial killers including Jeffrey Dahmer, and Charles Manson however his relationship with Gacy was the most detailed and in depth and thus the best to form the focus of this features.
Adapted by Kellie Madison and Clark Peterson The Last Victim avoids the usual serial killer movie stereotypes coined by The Silence of the Lambs with a more realistic feel emphsised by the documentary style filming by director Svetozar Ristovski and the use of real TV footage which not only adds to the reality but shows the media obsession with murders.
Most important to the movies success is the central cast who are excellent. Jesse Moss successfully shows the internal struggle and identity crisis Jason goes through brought on by his interest in serial killers as Gacy infects his mind like a virus pushing him towards the underbelly of society and the outskirts of human behavior.
William Forsythe terrifically treads a fine line between sympathetic and psychopathic switching from polite and generous to menacing and mad seamlessly in a portrayal which evokes the true evil of Gacy without slipping into caricature or pantomime.
Revealing our obsession with serial killers and the dangers of delving into the minds of maniacs The Last Victim is a disconcerting, shocking true story and an excellent film which will stay with you long after its over.