Hulu’s thriller “Boston Strangler” does not live up to its potential

A remarkable story and a stellar cast are somehow not enough to make this movie an enjoyable watch


Courtesy Hulu and 20th Century Fox

Keira Knightley and Carrie Coon star in “Boston Strangler,” a thriller about the two reporters who broke the story of one of the 1960’s most notorious serial killers.

The most disappointing movies are often the ones with the greatest potential.

In March, Hulu released the procedural thriller “Boston Strangler” on its streaming service. It tells the true story of Loretta McLaughlin and Jean Cole, two determined reporters from the Boston Record American newspaper, who broke the story about the Boston Strangler, a serial killer responsible for the deaths of 13 women in the Boston area during the early 1960s.

“Boston Strangler” stars Keira Knightley (“Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Pride and Prejudice”) as Loretta McLaughlin and Carrie Coon (“Gone Girl,” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife”) as Jean Cole. Their characters not only struggle with pursuing the story about this killer, but they also fight against the misogyny in both their personal and professional lives that keeps getting in their way.

As interesting as this film seems, there were a few things that made “Boston Strangler” fall short. The pacing of the movie was quite slow, which made it difficult to stay engaged with the story. There were long stretches of time where not much seemed to be happening, which made the movie feel a bit dull. 

Another issue is its lack of suspense and tension. While the story itself is certainly compelling, the movie failed to capture the sense of fear and paranoia that gripped Boston during the Strangler’s reign of terror.

The movie could have taken some liberties with the cast to make the story feel more cinematic, which could have included more dramatic scenes, as well as some creative visual effects to capture the mood of the time period.

Other than that, “Boston Strangler” is packed with potential, but falls flat in its execution. With some fixes to the pacing and suspense, I think it could’ve been much more engaging and memorable.

“Boston Strangler”

Production: A Hulu and 20th Century Fox release of a Scott Free/ LuckyChap Entertainment production

Producers: Ridley Scott, Kevin Walsh, Michael A. Pruss, Josey McNamara, Tom Ackerley; Executive producers: Michael Fottrell, Sam Roston

Crew: Matt Ruskin (Writer/Director), Ben Kutchins (Cinematography), Anne McCabe (Editor). Paul Leonard-Morgan (Composer)

Cast: Keira Knightley, Carrie Coon, Chris Cooper, Alessandro Nivola, Bill Camp, David Dastmalchian, Ryan Winkles, Morgan Spector