“Aileen Wuornos: American Boogeywoman”

This past November I reviewed the film “Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman.” As I was searching the other day, to add new things to my list on Netflix, to my surprise, I came across the film “Aileen Wuornos: American Boogeywoman” from the same filmmaker. For those of you who read the aforementioned review of the Bundy movie, you’ll perhaps remember that I was hesitant to watch it, because there has been an inordinate amount of films, both fiction and non-fiction, that I’ve seen about him. When it comes to Aileen Wuornos, there was no hesitation on my part, because even though she is one of, if not, the best known female serial killer in history, there haven’t been the same nauseating amount of films released about her life, like there have been centered on Bundy. Leaving aside some documentaries, I could think of only two movies pertaining to Wuornos that I’d seen. There was the excellent 2003 film “Monster” written and directed by Emmy Nominee Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman). Charlize Theron starred in the film, and won the Oscar for her portrayal of Wuornos. Theron co-starred in the film with Golden Globe nominee Christina Ricci (Yellowjackets), who played Wuornos’s girlfriend Tyria Moore, although in the movie, her name was changed to Selby. In addition, I watched the rather forgettable, 1992 made for television movie “Overkill: The Aileen Wuornos Story.” The movie starred four time Emmy winner Jean Smart (Hacks), and the role of Tyria was played by three time Golden Globe winner Park Overall (Empty Nest). (As an aside: Aileen Wuornos killed seven known victims in the state of Florida between 1989 through 1990. The victims were all men, who had paid her for sex. At her trial, she claimed she killed the men in self defense. The jury didn’t believe her, and she was convicted of six of the seven murders. On October 9, 2002, she was executed by lethal injection).

The film, Aileen Wuornos: American Boogeywoman, opens in 1975, in DeLand, Florida, which is located in Volusia County. Aileen is portrayed, in a good and believable performance, by Peyton List (Cobra Kai).  She is desperate for money. Aileen doesn’t have a hotel room for the evening, nor does she have money for food. She has finished up having sex with Dewey (Christopher Corbin), in his pickup truck. Dewey, wants to kiss Aileen, something which she told him was a no, before they started. She’s not a person to be trifled with, and when Dewey attempts to force her to kiss him, she responds by knocking him out. Aileen takes Dewey’s wallet and hurries toward the beach, which she is unaware is private. After that scene the opening credits begin. I was amused by them, because they looked like something better suited for the history edition of Schoolhouse Rock!  (As an aside: The story is told via flashback during a prison interview with Aileen. The older version of whom is played by Ashley Atwood).  

While on the beach, Aileen comes across a group of people in their early twenties, who are partying. Jennifer (Lydia Hearst), asks Aileen if she would like to join them, which she does. No sooner does Aileen go to join the small group of friends, when the smarmy Grady, played by Emmy nominee Swen Temmel (The Bay), begins to talk trash to her.  Aileen responds, in her usual manner with violence, but this time, the people that are there are on her side. Ashamed at what her friend has done, Jennifer invites Aileen to spend the night at her place.                   

The next morning, Aileen meets Jennifer’s father Lewis, a role acted by Emmy nominee Tobin Bell (Saw). The retired commodore of his yacht club is very taken with Aileen, and engages in some flirtation, to which, she responds kindly. Aileen will wind up not only staying with Jennifer and Lewis, but will seduce Lewis to the point where he asks her to marry him. He does so, after only knowing her for a few short weeks, as well as his knowing almost nothing pertaining to her crime riddled past. Jennifer is understandably distrustful of Aileen, but for the moment is content to let her father be happy. Victor, Lewis’s accountant and business advisor, portrayed by two time Oscar winner Nick Vallelonga (Green Book), however, takes things further. He has his private investigator find out all he can about the mysterious woman’s past. Victor doesn’t believe Aileen is in love with the elder Lewis, from who, in the event of his death, Aileen would inherit millions. What lengths will Aileen go to, in order to make sure she comes out victorious in the end?

“Aileen Wuornos: American Boogeywoman” was written and directed by Daniel Farrands, who won a Saturn Award for “Never Sleep Again, The Elm Street Legacy.”  The film was released on October 8, 2021. Parts drama, horror, and thriller, the film has a runtime of 85 minutes.

One of the aspects of this film that I liked, was the fact that it concentrates on a part of Wuornos life that is not widely discussed. Furthermore, like Farrands did with the Bundy film, he inserts a scene into the movie, involving Aileen and her brother Keith (Joseph Schwartz), which to the best of my knowledge, has never before been part of Aileen’s infamous story. The validity of what happens when the two of them interact in a seedy motel room, is, of course, open to criticism and speculation, but it provided one of the more interesting scenes in the film. Furthermore, there is another scene involving Aileen’s mother, Diane Pittman, played by two time Emmy winner Meadow Williams (American Traitor: The Trial of Axis Sally), which also added interest to the film, and helped to explain Aileen’s back story.   

I found this film more interesting and certainly more entertaining than the Bundy film. The subject matter of the film will certainly not be for everyone. While there is some violence shown, there is little in the way of gore. Recommended for those interested in true crime, as well as those who would like to learn more about a part of Aileen Wuornos’ life that is often overlooked.

About robbinsrealm

I was born in Smithtown, New York, and grew up, worked, and lived in various areas of Long Island before moving to Boca Raton, Florida where I now make my home. In addition to being an aspiring writer, I am also an English teacher. I have a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master’s Degree in Education, both from Adelphi University in Garden City, New York. In my spare time you will find me engrossed in books, watching movies, socializing with friends, or just staying active.
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