Self-help books are by no means a recent phenomenon. They date back all the way to the ancient Greeks. However, it wasn’t until the latter part of the twentieth century that a multi-million-dollar industry shot up around the world. Whilst the Classics may have concentrated on wellbeing or ethics, this new explosion covered just about every subject under the sun and branched out onto TV. In his feature debut, A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life, Staten Cousins Roe takes the knife to this much maligned area of self-improvement.

Thirty-something self-help addict Lou (Katie Brayben) has never left home and is constantly under the yoke of her domineering mother (Sarah Ball). That all changes when she enlists the help of Val (Poppy Roe), a life coach with rather unusual ideas. She promises to take Lou on a voyage of self-discovery. A road trip of alternative therapies. There’s just one catch. Val is a serial killer.

A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life is a quintessentially British take on a terrifying American phenomenon. Roe plays up to the darker side of the human psyche. He laces the film with black humour and a number of familiar faces to help Lou on her journey. The target of Val’s dacnomania is the very thing Lou thinks she’s selling. However, the apple never really falls far from the tree. A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life is a clever and quirky horror.

A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life screened at Grimmfest.