After starring in Where The Wild Things Are in 2009, Max Records dropped off the radar—unless you count his turn in the rather forgettable The Sitter in 2011. But he’s back, starring in the upcoming thriller from writer-director Bill O’Brien (Isolation), I Am Not A Serial Killer. Based on the Dan Wells novel of the same name, I Am Not A Serial Killer follows 16-year-old John Cleaver (Records), a diagnosed sociopath who is obsessed with serial killers. Though he has violent impulses, John tries to keep them in check by living by a rigid set of rules to protect himself and his community. But the arrival of a dangerous monster played by Christopher Lloyd threatens John’s balance, and gets him wrapped up in a serial killer case in his own hometown. Who better to get in the mind of a serial killer than someone obsessed with serial killers? I Am Not A Serial Killer premiered at SXSW, and an official trailer dropped today, introducing the specific and eerie style of the film, which was shot on 16mm by cinematographer Robbie Ryan (Philomena). It’s an immediately disturbing and immersive trailer that signals quite the new phase of Records’ acting career. This is a much different land of wild things.

The original novel is a part of a series, and the fifth installment was released in May, but this early look at the film doesn’t really have the markings of a major film franchise. It does have all the markings of a subtle and unsettling indie thriller, and doesn’t show too much of its hand when it comes to the plot and the underlying conflict. “This is nowhere,” John says to an unseen presence in the trailer. “This isn’t supposed to happen here; it’s supposed to be somewhere else.”

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Lloyd will host a screening of I Am Not A Serial Killer at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal on August 2, and the film will be available on VOD and in limited release on August 26.