Fear not America, with Women Who Kill the 21st century finally has the indie So I Married an Axe Murderer it has long been clamoring for. Writer/director Ingrid Jungermann stars as Morgan, an employee at a natural foods cooperative and co-host of a popular podcast about female murderers. The show unearths the gruesome details of different homicides and even includes interviews from prison with the women incarcerated for their crimes. Morgan’s podcast partner is Jean, played by Ann Carr, who also happens to be Morgan’s ex. When Morgan falls for a mysterious new arrival at the co-op, Jean sees signs that Simone–or is her real name Alison?–might be a killer herself.
That premise is enticing and offers Women Who Kill a number of different avenues for thematic exploration. Jungermann chooses to meld a quip-filled script with an examination into the complicated loves and lives of a group of women. The latter works far better than the former, as the occasionally overwritten dialogue lacks the assured delivery necessary to make the jokes stick. Thankfully the undersold zingers take a backseat as the narrative progresses. Meanwhile, the relationships and their attendant anxieties are handled well simply because they are not overbearing. A great scene midway through the picture, as Jean and Morgan tail Simone by following her through the neighborhood in a Subaru, shows a natural give-and-take between the ex-lovers that manages to be both funny and illuminating without resorting to one-liners.
Despite harping on some of the delivery, there are decent performances throughout Women Who Kill. Grace Rex lights up her few scenes as the mousy fiancée engaged to Morgan’s brash best friend Alex. However, the best performance in the film comes from Sheila Vand as Simone. Vand is probably most recognized for her starring role in Ana Lily Amarpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. As Simone, Vand deftly balances the need for her character to appear magnetic and inscrutable in equal measure. She’s sexy and a little scary, which is a perfect summation of a lot of new loves.