American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
He is a pleasant-looking young man with a smile on his face.
Perhaps too bland a smile, as if he is not smiling about anything - as if the smile is a mask. He goes into a sports store to buy a gun, and makes small talk with the clerk, who apologizes that there is an obligatory waiting period. Hey, no problem! He comes back two days before Christmas to pick up his purchase, and then walks into a home and shoots people dead and carves out parts of their bodies with the precision of an experienced butcher.
The police, confronted by the murder scene, call it the work of a madman. A few days later, he strikes again, in broad daylight, walking into a home and butchering a woman while her helpless child looks on in terror. Nobody in his right mind could commit an act like this, without apparent motive or even with one. And yet the man, whose name is Charles Reece, is played by Alex McArthur as the kind of guy you'd see at a football game, or out washing his car. He doesn't even make much of an attempt to evade discovery, wearing the same windbreaker to all of his crimes.
William Friedkin's "Rampage" is based, the movie assures us, on a real story. We do not need the assurances. Serial killing is the crime of our times, and who knows what confluence of forces has led to these strange people who stare out at us from the covers of true crime paperbacks, their appearance as normal as their crimes are bizarre. Jeffrey Dahmer, a bystander said on television, looked like such a nice young man.