The Hunt for the BTK Killer (2005)

5.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 4/10

TV movie with some decent aspects

It still doesn't rise above being a TV movie

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Hunt for the BTK Killer

Studio:  CBS

Genre(s):  Drama/Horror/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  October 9, 2005

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


It’s like CSI…except not

In 1974, a killer began stalking the area in and around Wichita, Kansas.  Naming himself BTK (Bind, Torture, Kill), the terror produced by the seemingly random and violent crimes was high.  When the case goes dormant for years, a new book by Robert Beattie (Maury Chaykin) on the killings sparks the resurfacing of the killer Dennis Rader (Gregg Henry).  As Rader tracks new victims, Detective Jason Magida (Robert Forster) is in a race against time to find a killer before he strikes again.

Directed by Stephen Kay, The Hunt for the BTK Killer was a Made-for-TV movie which chronicled the real life capture of the serial killer who operated in the Wichita, Kansas and is responsible for the murder of ten people.  It aired on October 9, 2005 on CBS.


Hunt for the BTK Killer’s File!

True life stories are always difficult to adapt.  With the recent movies like The Social Network, Zero Dark Thirty, and The Fifth Estate making current events big screen films, it is sometimes nice to go back and watch a movie when true life stories were just made-for-TV.

The movie does benefit from a story that doesn’t just follow the life of the killer.  Like many of these, it becomes about the search and the police-work used to find the killer.  The movie also opted not to go back over the history of the crimes as much as present the story of the capture through flashbacks at the trial.  It is a bit more creative than a standard biography, but it still doesn’t rise about a TV movie.


Face of a killer

The thing the movie does have going for it is rather strong acting by both Forster as the man hunting for the killer, and Henry as the killer himself.  Henry is creepy and eerie, but I also like that they present him as someone who can be oddly charming to many of those around him.  Forster is an officer with a history with the crimes and determined to end it once and for all.

Visually, the movie is a TV movie.  The director tries to spice it up through some interesting editing and some better than average film work, but it just doesn’t have the quality of a big screen presentation.

The Hunt for the BTK Killer is an average detective movie and not much of a thriller.  The film is sometimes found packaged with other horror films, but it can hardly be considered a horror film simply because it has a serial killer in it.  If it is on TV, it isn’t the worst film you’ll find, but don’t go seeking it out.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response