The Young Poisoner's Handbook Truly amoral movies provide a special, kinky pleasure — they can put you in touch with your inner scoundrel — and the first feature film… The Young Poisoner's Handbook Truly amoral movies provide a special, kinky pleasure — they can put you in touch with your inner scoundrel — and the first feature film… Unrated PT99M Mystery and Thriller Hugh O'Conor Ruth Sheen
Movie Review

The Young Poisoner's Handbook (1996)

MPAA Rating: Unrated
EW's GRADE
A-

Details Rated: Unrated; Length: 99 Minutes; Genre: Mystery and Thriller; With: Hugh O'Conor and Ruth Sheen

Truly amoral movies provide a special, kinky pleasure — they can put you in touch with your inner scoundrel — and the first feature film from writer-director Benjamin Ross has this ticklish deviousness; it's like a Charles Addams cartoon directed by Hitchcock. Based on the early-1960s case of Graham Young, a teenager from the London suburbs who became obsessed with poisoning people, The Young Poisoner's Handbook seduces us into viewing the most appalling acts with smirky, jaundiced detachment. After racking up several victims (including his own stepmother), Graham is apprehended, sent to a state mental hospital, and ''rehabilitated'' by a staff psychiatrist — at which point he returns to society and promptly resumes poisoning. As Graham, Hugh O'Conor, with his big, dark, unblinking eyes (he looks like a handsome owl), almost convinces you that homicide is a reasonable extension of adolescent rebelliousness. He's Holden Caulfield with a toxicology fetish.

Originally posted Mar 29, 1996 Published in issue #320 Mar 29, 1996 Order article reprints
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