What Lisa Marie Watched Last Night: The Craigslist Killer (dir. by Stephen Kay)


Last night, as I was searching through the list of movies saved onto my DVR, I discovered that I had apparently recorded 2011’s The Craigslist Killer off of the Lifetime Movie Network.  So, of course, I immediately curled up on the couch and started to watch it.  After a few minutes, I paused the movie so I could wake up my sister and track down our cat and force them to watch it with me.  Which they did because they love me.  Awwwwwwwww!

Why Was I Watching It?

Okay, I think The Craigslist Killer has been on TV like a gazillion times since 2011 and I’ve watched it almost every time.  It’s become a tradition.  Just like some people have to watch Avatar every time it pops up on Cinemax, I have to watch The Craigslist Killer every time it shows up on Lifetime.  And if I have to use my feminine wiles to force other people to watch with me — well, I’m willing to do that.

What’s It About?

 Philip Markoff (Jake McDorman) is this handsome, charming medical student who tells everyone that he’s rich and is just loved by everyone.  But even though he’s a total hottie, he’s got the confidence of nottie.  (Sorry, I came up with that line as a joke a few months ago and I’ve been looking for an excuse to use it ever since.)  So, he deals with his issues by looking at porn online and then eventually murdering a masseuse who he met through an ad that she placed on Craig’s List.  Anyway, he’s not really that good at being a killer so it’s kinda obvious that he’s the one who did it but nobody can believe it because he’s such a charming guy.

One person who definitely doesn’t think that he’s a killer is his fiancée, Megan (Agnes Bruckner).  Megan is busy planning their wedding while, unknown to her, Philip is attacking and killing other women.  Eventually, Megan is confronted by a suspicious homicide investigator (William Baldwin) but she still stubbornly defends Philip.

And, of course, it’s all based on a true story.

What Worked?

Seriously, this is the epitome of a Lifetime movie and it’s also a historically important one.  I can remember being on twitter the night that this movie premiered and literally everyone was planning on watching The Craigslist Killer, even people who normally would never watch Lifetime.  So, for many people, The Craigslist Killer is what they think of when they think of a Lifetime movie: it’s based on a true story, it’s about a beautiful woman who falls in love with a handsome man with a great future, and it’s about how that woman learns that men can’t be trusted.  There’s even a subtle hint, I think, of the possibility of future romance between Megan and the detective played by William Baldwin.  And good for her!  Seriously, after everything she  goes through in this film, she deserves it.

Agnes Bruckner and Jake McDorman both give pretty good performances.  McDorman is totally believable as both a charming med school student and a vicious killer and I liked the way that his performance subtly showed us that there wasn’t much going on behind the character’s perfect smile.

The final few minutes of the movie made me cry.

What Didn’t Work?

I’ve read quite a few comments online from people complaining about William Baldwin’s attempt to do a Boston accent.  Some say it was one of the worst Boston accents in television history.  I’m not sure if that’s true or not but I certainly know what it’s like to listen to a Yankee butcher your region’s accent.

Otherwise, as far as I’m concerned, this was a Lifetime movie and it all worked.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

What girl hasn’t liked the perfect boy who, once he becomes her boyfriend, reveals himself to actually be far less than perfect?  Laugh if you will but the best Lifetime movie tap into universal truths that many people don’t like to admit exist.

Lessons Learned

Even the perfect wedding can be ruined when it turns out the groom is a serial killer.

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