Boston Strangler 2023 Film Review

Movie Bunker Score:

The Intriguing Story of Matt Ruskin’s Boston Strangler


Crime stories have gained immense popularity in recent times, captivating audiences with narratives that expose the darkest aspects of humanity. One such film, Matt Ruskin’s Boston Strangler, delves into the terrifying true story of a serial killer in 1960s Boston. While the movie offers an engaging watch with its compelling narrative, it also struggles to escape the shadow of its predecessors in the genre. This article explores the reasons behind society’s fascination with true crime stories and delves into the film’s portrayal of the murders and the protagonists’ relentless pursuit to halt the killer’s spree.

Unveiling the Dark Side: Why True Crime Captivates

True crime stories have become a cultural phenomenon, gripping audiences with their exploration of the macabre. The question arises: why are we so drawn to stories that remind us of the darkest depths of human nature? Perhaps it is a combination of morbid curiosity and the allure of a new form of horror that exposes the terrifying realities of the world. Director Matt Ruskin effectively taps into this fascination in Boston Strangler, not only by depicting the heinous crimes but also by highlighting the societal reactions and the protagonists’ struggle to prevent further atrocities. Through this lens, Ruskin paints a bleak picture that resonates with our collective unease, making Boston Strangler a perfect embodiment of the true crime genre.

A Glimpse into the Plot

Boston Strangler follows the tenacious reporter Loretta McLaughlin, portrayed by the talented Keira Knightley. Loretta embarks on an investigation into the infamous Boston Strangler, a serial killer responsible for the gruesome murders of 13 women in Massachusetts. As the story unfolds, Loretta and her fellow reporter Jean Cole (played by Carrie Coon) encounter constant resistance from the male-dominated environment. Determined to uncover the truth, they unravel a web of corruption that shrouds the identity of the killer. The film weaves together a complex and captivating narrative, with the quest to unmask the murderer driving the story forward.

The Strengths and Weaknesses of Boston Strangler

A Familiar Yet Forgettable Tale

Despite its engaging plot, Boston Strangler struggles to escape the trappings of a generic true crime story. In today’s saturated landscape of crime narratives, it fails to distinguish itself and subsequently fades into the sea of similar productions. Unlike iconic films such as Seven or Zodiac, which leave a lasting impression with specific scenes, Boston Strangler lacks those standout moments that imprint on the viewer’s memory. While it may entertain during its runtime, it falls short on creating a lasting impact due to its lack of distinctiveness.

Impressive Performances and Cinematic Elements

Nevertheless, the film boasts notable strengths in its performances and cinematography. Keira Knightley delivers a strong portrayal of Loretta, infusing the film with energy and preventing it from becoming monotonous. Her chemistry with Carrie Coon, who plays Jean Cole, adds another layer of depth to the narrative. However, it is disappointing that the film underutilizes Coon’s talent, leaving much potential untapped. The visuals heavily reminiscent of David Fincher’s Zodiac, featuring shadowy atmospheres and a color palette that echoes the iconic crime thriller. These elements contribute to the film’s overall aesthetic appeal.

A Pale Imitation of Masterpieces

Regrettably, Boston Strangler often falls prey to the limitations of its genre, resembling a watered-down version of superior films such as Zodiac. While it grasps the significant issues associated with telling a chilling true story, it lacks the necessary audacity and suspense to leave a lasting impression. The film feels generic and safe, missing the ruthless intensity required to truly immerse the audience into the depths of fear. In a genre overflowing with exceptional choices, Boston Strangler struggles to stand out and fails to leave a profound impact.

A Missed Opportunity

More Confidence, Greater Potential

With a different director at the helm, Boston Strangler could have blossomed into a fantastic film. Unfortunately, it falls somewhat short and ends up feeling like a diluted version of Zodiac. Despite the film’s intriguing mystery at its core, it lacks the distinguishing factors that would make it memorable. While it remains engaging throughout, there are numerous superior options within the genre that would be recommended over Boston Strangler.


In conclusion, Matt Ruskin’s Boston Strangler attempts to capture the essence of a gripping true crime narrative. It successfully creates a bleak atmosphere, reminding audiences of the terrifying reality of the world. However, it fails to separate itself from the multitude of similar productions, resulting in a film that is memorable only during its runtime. Engaging performances and visually appealing cinematography enhance the overall experience, yet these aspects ultimately cannot overcome the film’s lack of originality. Nevertheless, Boston Strangler offers a glimpse into a chilling chapter of true crime history, even if it fails to surpass its predecessors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Is Boston Strangler based on a true story?

Yes, Boston Strangler is based on the true story of a serial killer who plagued Boston during the 1960s. The film explores the infamous murders and the efforts of reporters to uncover the identity of the killer.

2. Where can I watch Boston Strangler?

Boston Strangler is currently available to watch on Hulu, allowing viewers to explore the captivating true crime narrative.

3. Does Boston Strangler offer any standout performances?

Keira Knightley delivers a solid performance as Loretta McLaughlin, infusing the film with energy. Carrie Coon also impresses, although the film underutilizes her talent.

4. How does Boston Strangler compare to other true crime films?

While Boston Strangler offers an engaging watch, it falls short of exceptional true crime masterpieces like Zodiac. Its lack of distinctiveness prevents it from leaving a lasting impact.

5. Is Boston Strangler worth watching despite its shortcomings?

If you have a keen interest in true crime stories, Boston Strangler may still provide an enjoyable viewing experience. However, there are superior films within the genre that are highly recommended over this one.