The Postcard Killings is a 2020 thriller/mystery film that flew under the radar from what I can tell. Starring Famke Janssen and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, I would have expected for more of a buzz about this film, but I hadn’t even heard of it prior to receiving it to review. I’m going to chalk this up to a strange year for cinema as a whole, and a lot of smaller films being lost in a sort of weird web of cracks that is the quarantine.
While the name sounds a bit cliche, the movie is a bit different than you might expect. It is true that like other “The _____ Killer” movies, this one centers on a serial killer case with a very unique and twisted M.O. that has investigators both baffled and constantly second guessing themselves over minute details that might lead to the perpetrators identity. But there are some interesting and unique aspects of The Postcard Killings that give it a bit more staying power and make this worth a watch, even if you aren’t too keen on another generic serial killer movie. Not the least of said aspects is the fact that this movie has a bit of a Taken trait to it in Morgan’s portrayal of Jacob Kanon, father of one of the victims.
You see, the victims that the killer (or is it killers?) choose in this film are young couples traveling abroad in Europe, newly married and exploring the world. Once the deed is done, the bodies are dismembered and posed to match famous works of art. What could not have been known, however, is that the father of one of the latest victims is a detective from the US who will stop at nothing to catch anyone responsible for these killings. This leads to a very intense investigation and game of cat and mouse as he visits the past crime scenes and enlists the help of local police and journalists in his hunt.
Overall, this movie has one of the more interesting and elaborate stories for the killings, and the investigation is fairly interesting. The twists and turns didn’t feel forced, which is also very important for this type of movie. But it does have it’s downsides as well. While Morgan is typically a very good actor, he struggles to play the fine line between badass detective cop on the hunt and the grief stricken father of a victim. He plays both parts very well, but the transition between the two can be jarring at times and feels a bit forced.
It also should be noted that while this movie is not bad by any means, it does boil down to a fairly by the books serial killer movie at the end of the day. Fans of the genre will no doubt love this new flavor of the week, but it doesn’t go out of it’s way to push the genre forward. To be fair, that shouldn’t be a requirement at all, but should be noted if these movies are not your usual cup of tea.
The Postcard Killings is often visually interesting, following the main character across several famous cities in Europe, which is pretty fun. It’s also super nice that they chose locations that were not the standard tourism sites that are stereotypical of each city, which keeps things fresh and interesting.
The visual quality is a bit less exciting, however. There is a considerable amount of film grain present, especially in scenes with lower light, that gets quite distracting at times. There’s an argument that this is good for mood setting, and it may very well have been a stylistic choice, but at times it felt quite drab and less interesting to me.
The audio track for this release is a DTS-Master Audio 5.1 channel surround that is fairly baseline for blu-ray releases these days. It is perfectly fine, and has plenty of interesting scenes with ambient noise making the film feel lively. Dialogue is never lost in the mix.
The Postcard Killings is released by RLJE Media and comes in a slipcover with matching art and a single Blu-ray disc. The only special feature included is The Making of The Postcard Killings. There is no digital copy.
Our Recommendation for The Postcard Killings:
While The Postcard Killings is, to put it bluntly, a fairly generic serial killer thriller, it has an interesting premise behind the killings and adds the twist of a foreign detective hunting down his daughters murderer in Europe, which adds a bit of a n interesting dynamic. If you like the genre, this is a perfectly interesting addition, but doesn’t push things forward in any way. So I am inclined to recommend this as a watch if you can find a copy for a good price.