HE WENT THAT WAY is a new thriller based on the true story of a serial killer and the potential victim who survived. Jacob Elordi and Zachary Quinto star. Read our full He Went That Way movie review here!

HE WENT THAT WAY is a new serial killer thriller starring Jacob Elordi as the killer and Zachary Quinto as the one who got away. Or rather, the one potential victim that this serial killer decided not to kill.

It is, admittedly, loosely based on a true story, so the names have been changed, while many elements are the same. The runtime is just 95 minutes, which means the story is told in a direct and tightly paced manner.

Continue reading our He Went That Way movie review below. Find it on VOD from January 12, 2024.

A fascinating character study

The story is set in 1964, which is when the real-life murder spree that inspired this movie happened. This thriller is also described as being a “wicked spin on the buddy road trip film”, which is strangely accurate.

That’s not to say that it makes light of the crimes committed, but rather that it focuses on this one particular experience.

He Went That Way follows the 19-year-old serial killer Bobby (portrayed brilliantly by Jacob Elordi). Having already committed several murders, he is picked up by celebrity animal handler, Jim (a calm and soft-spoken Zachary Quinto).

The two are on the iconic Route 66 with Jim’s chimpanzee, Spanky, in the back. Spanky is an American TV darling and also manages to intrigue and charm the serial killer. All the while we see Jim using his experience with wild animals to handle Bobby.

In the end, He Went That Way is both a scary and disturbing serial killer story as well as a very intriguing character study. One where death seems just one bad moment away.

Bobby is clearly on edge and has very little empathy. Yet Jim survives to speak of this experience.

He Went That Way (2023) – Review | Thriller

The true story behind He Went That Way

As soon as you realize He Went That Way is based on a true story, you’ll probably want to know about the true crime. Well, not to fear, I felt the same way and looked into it.

He Went That Way is based on the true story of the serial killer Larry Lee Ranes. And no, he wasn’t quite the looker that Jacob Elordi is. Then again, very few are! However, it’s beside the point as this movie is all about his crimes as a serial killer.

Larry Lee Ranes was “only” convicted of one murder, but his number of victims is still listed as 1-5. He was convicted of having murdered the 30-year-old Gary Smock, which happened (as seen in this movie) while Larry was posing as a hitchhiker.

While this thriller is loosely based on the true crimes of Larry Ranes, key elements remain the same. The names have been changed, but not the facts. Such as how the one victim who got away was a celebrity animal trainer named Dave Pitts.

During the end credits, we see a brief interview with Dave Pitts. Here he explains how the chimp saved his life. Larry Ranes has stated that he couldn’t kill Dave Pitts without also killing the chimp and he couldn’t bring himself to do that.

Larry Lee Ranes was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole in October 1964 and died in prison in November 2023.

Watch He Went That Way on VOD

The director of He Went That Way is Jeffrey Darling. Sadly, Jeffrey Darling passed away in March 2022 as a result of a surfing accident in Sydney, Australia. There is a dedication to him in the end credits.

The screenwriter is Evan M. Wiener with the actual story inspired by Conrad Hilberry’s 1987 book “Luke Karamazov” and the real-life account of survivor Dave Pitts (the character “Jim” in the movie).

Along with a brilliant performance by Jacob Elordi and a perfectly matching (yet contradicting) portrayal by Zachary Quinto, we have Spanky. Personally, I was thrilled that it wasn’t a real chimp. Instead, the ape is portrayed by actor Phoenix Notary.

Previously, Phoenix Notary played an “ape kid” in the 2017 War for the Planet of the Apes movie. She has an amazing gift for this type of work. Obviously! Also, for this movie, it made sense to not just do the whole CGI trick, but use practical FX instead.

In true genre hybrid fashion, this movie is part serial killer thriller part classic road film (with a sinister tone throughout). It was shot in locations that matched the 1964 setting and it works like a charm. You really do feel transported back to the 1960s.

He Went That Way is out On Demand on all streaming platforms from January 12, 2024.


Director: Jeff Darling
Writer: Evan M. Wiener
Cast: Jacob Elordi, Zachary Quinto


Set in 1964, He Went That Way is a taut thriller based on a true crime story that puts a wicked spin on the buddy road trip film. The film follows 19-year-old serial killer Bobby (Jacob Elordi) as he is picked up by a celebrity animal handler, Jim (Zachary Quinto), on a desolate stretch of Route 66 with priceless cargo in tow: Jim’s chimpanzee, Spanky, an American TV darling. As stress between Bobby and Jim rises and their fiery personalities combust, the road only becomes more treacherous the farther they go.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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