I absolutely adore this movie and all of its dark corners. This is my first exposure to the works of writer-director Ingrid Jungermann, who stars in Women Who Kill as Morgan, the co-host of a true-crime podcast with her ex-girlfriend Jean (the bubbly Ann Carr) that focuses on female serial killers. With an NPR-ish delivery style equivalent to the “Delicious Dish” sketch from “SNL,” Morgan and Jean provide detailed looks at crime sprees and even occasionally get to interview their subjects in prison (there’s a nicely sinister take by Annette O’Toole as one of their jailhouse subjects).
While many of their mutual friends think the pair should just get back together considering how much time they spend together, the dynamic shifts when Morgan meets the alluring Simone (Sheila Vand from A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and the horror anthology XX) at her job at a food co-op. Seeing as though the “Women Who Murder” podcast has a certain popularity in the Park Slope area of Brooklyn, it’s maybe not so surprising when it turns out that Simone is a fan of the show, and as the relationship progresses, Morgan begins to realize that she doesn’t really know that much about her new girlfriend, which inspires Jean to do a little digging.
While Women Who Kill may sound like a creepy suspense piece, it’s actually a smart, funny look at modern relationships in an age where it’s nearly impossible to keep secrets. We are dropped into this existence, and soon we become as suspicious as Morgan does, as evidence piles up to suggest Simone might be a killer herself—or is Morgan just looking for an excuse to take the relationship to the next level? Supporting players range from Shannon Patricia O’Neill’s rough-around-the-edges, frequently drunk Alex and her soon-to-be wife Kim (Grace Rex)—another couple with serious issues.
But the film functions best when Morgan and Jean are working together, letting their chemistry rise to the surface, either as co-hosts or amateur investigators. And while most of the characters in the film are gay, Jungermann makes certain to flesh out everyone to the point where being gay is only a portion of who they are, and by the end of the movie, I wanted to be friends with everyone in it, including the possible murderer—no small achievement from a first-time filmmaker, who isn’t afraid to poke a little fun at Brooklyn hipster culture and Hollywood romantic comedies. Women Who Kill is a charming, layered work that makes me want to see these characters in another film or television series right away. Seek this one out.
The film opens today at Facets Cinémathèque.