Happy Face Killer (2014 Lifetime)
Synopsis (via Lifetime)
Serial killer Keith Jesperson murders at least eight women over a five-year span and taunts authorities with disturbing letters and scribbled confessions signed with a happy face.
Gloria Rueben, who is honestly too good for this movie, plays a FBI detective named Melinda. She is on the trail of a murderer who kills women and leaves a happy face at the crime scene… in blood.
Two years earlier, we meet a trucker who loves his family named Keith. ( Played by the lesser Arquette, David.) He loses out on a job, and psycho music plays while he rubs his eyes anxiously. Then he finds a note from his wife saying that she is leaving him and taking the kids. He watches home videos and obsessive over his lost life. Then he draws a happy face on foggy glass and goes to a bar to blow off steam.
At the bar, Keith meets a blonde girl and takes her back to his place. She is jumping on the bed and giggles, while Keith has flashbacks to his childhood when he killed a pigeon. Then he kills the woman, and we see a title card with the victim’s name (Sissy Peyton) and a smiley face. He takes the body and dumps it in the woods. Then he makes a confessional video about how great it was to kill someone. (WTF!)
Keith continues to kill women on his trucker route and leaves his signature happy face on the body written in the victim’s blood.
The flashbacks with young Keith escalate in disturbing images. (See: Microwaving a kitten.) His next victim in Candy Smith, who is a single mother with a baby. She is a sex worker (who shouldn’t bring her baby on the job.), and when he doesn’t pay her, she threatens to calls the cops. Keith almost kills her but is snapped out of his rage, but the baby’s cries.
Detective Melinda is on the case. They arrest the wrong couple when Dolores turns herself and her boyfriend in for the murder. Dolores/Bud signs a confession and takes and fails a polygraph. It is all a ploy to get out of an abusive relationship.
Keith sees the news story and writes a confession on a bathroom wall, with a smiley face. Then he kills a hitchhiker named Summer Nothern. Leaving another note taunting detectives. Meanwhile, he is dating a woman named Diane and proposes to her.
The news still reports the wrong people for the murder, and Keith can’t handle it. He is angry and sends a letter to the DA with details from the murders. He gets not results and writes to Detective Melinda wanting to set up a meeting.
Detective Melinda realizes that the killer is a trucker and starts questioning people in truck stops. She comes across Candy and gets the information she needs. Candy presses assault charges against him.
Keith kills another woman named Taffy Billings, while a deranged version of “Happy Together” plays. He leaves more confessional videos but forgets to leave the happy face on her body. No, he makes the body into a happy face, which is gross.
Keith is brought in for questioning and Detective Melinda in onto him. Then she questions his family and those close to him. He fits the profile for a narcissistic serial killer. Keith continues to make tapes and sends them to his brother, confession to everything.
Detective Melinda finds his final victim in his house. It is his fiancee, Diane, which is just tragic and could have been prevented. The detectives have all the evidence they need and use his truck dispatcher to lure Keith to a specific location. He is apprehended by a badass, Gloria Rueben. He is serving multiple life sentences for the murders of eight women. He claims to have killed 160.
Minority Report: Detective Melinda, Coroner
Based on the real-life Canadian serial killer Keith Hunter Jesperson.
Since this is a Lifetime movie, I’d rather see a film about the victims’ lives or the one that got away.
🔪🔪 (2 Knives, added one for Gloria Rueben)
🍷🍷🍷 🍷 🍷 (5 glasses of wine required.)
*Photo Credit: © 2014 Lifetime