Aileen Wuornos: American Boogeywoman (USA, 2021)

Before she became a Monster, we see a young Aileen Wuornos in her short marriage in this film from the director of Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman.

On the 4th of July in 1976 in DeLand, Florida, Aileen Wuornos was a drifter who makes money by prostituting herself, but she also is known for a short temper. After beating up her latest client, she goes to the beach where she meets Jennifer Fell, a young woman and her group of friends. Despite beating up the arrogant Grady, Jennifer welcomes Aileen into her home for the night. The next day, Aileen meets Jennifer’s father, the elderly Lewis. Soon enough, worlds are about to change and be turned upside down.

Aileen marries Lewis to Jennifer’s shock. When Aileen is arrested after sneaking out to a bar on the night of her wedding and starting a fight with a local, Lewis at first begins to question the marriage. However, Aileen promises to be a better wife. And yet Jennifer begins to have some reservations. Soon enough, Aileen slowly begins to take over so much including stealing a check to get a lot of money. When people begin to question and learn her real motives, Aileen resorts to murder to ensure she gets her way. However, what will happen when she can’t escape the truth?

Coinciding with the release of Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman comes this take on America’s most notorious female serial killer. Writer-director Daniel Farrands does something different with this film compared to his previous films. He starts the film with an interview with a mature Aileen Wuornos in prison getting interviewed as she is prepared to tell her story. Played by Ashley Atwood, she looks unbelievably like the real Wuornos, who died in 2002.

As for the flashback story, Wuornos is played by former Disney star turned Cobra Kai co-star Peyton List, who does really well in the role. We see her as a manipulator and a fighter, someone who has had a rough life and feels she must literally fight her way to get past her demons. She finds her marriage to Lewis, played by Jigsaw himself, Tobin Bell, as a means to get revenge for all of her past troubles. List conveys the energy she unleashes as Cobra Kai mean girl Tory to play someone eviller and pulls it off nicely.

Lydia Hearst is great to watch in the role of Jennifer, Lewis’ daughter and Aileen’s friend turned rival. It is clear she cares deeply about her father and questions the marriage’s validity. An attempt to befriend Aileen despite the situation proves to be futile due to Aileen’s tongue thrashing of a boutique owner. If there is one character that one cannot sympathize with it’s Swen Temmel’s Grady. From his introduction, he’s a complete scumbag and while Grady’s dad is more good-natured and cares for the family, Grady is just scumbag city.

Compared to its companion piece about Ted Bundy, Aileen Wuornos: American Boogeywoman is a better film thanks in part to a straightforward story and Peyton List’s excellent performance in the titular role with Ashley Atwood doing well in the adult Wuornos role.

WFG RATING: B+

Voltage Pictures presents a 1428 Films production. Director: Daniel Farrands. Producers: Lucas Jarach, Luke Daniels, Daniel Farrands, Daniel Davila, Swen Temmel, and Meadow Williams. Writer: Daniel Farrands. Cinematography: Roberto Correa. Editing: Dan Riddle.

Cast: Peyton List, Lydia Hearst, Tobin Bell, Nick Vallelonga, Swen Temmel. Andrew Biernat, Ashley Atwood, Joseph Schwartz, Meadow Williams, Ben-Smith Petersen, Christa Collins.

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