The Young Poisoner’s Handbook

Director: Benjamin Ross
Screenwriters: Jeff Rawle, Benjamin Ross

Institute History

  • 1995 Sundance Film Festival


The Young Poisoner’s Handbook is a cautionary tale of a young genius gone wrong in which a London schoolboy’s obsession with toxic substances leads him to commit “experimental” murder. This delightfully droll production stars Hugh O’Conor as Graham Young, a clearly demented young man with a scientific mission: to test the effects of deadly poisons on friends and family. Discovered and sentenced to a high-security mental hospital, his brilliance attracts the famous Dr. Ziegler, who wants to rehabilitate and release him back into society. But can he really be cured? Can he resist the lure of his deadly potions?

Director and coscreenwriter Benjamin Ross makes his feature debut and demonstrates a delicate and knowing touch in making this absurdist dark comedy work. Sharply satirical yet restrained, Ross firmly resists the pressures of “comic book” characterization or slapstick excess to produce an entertaining and intelligent lampoon of science and psychology. With strong support from Antony Sher, Ruth Sheen, and Roger Lloyd Pack, and properly noirish camera and lighting by Hubert Taczanowski, The Young Poisoner’s Handbook will certainly please anyone with the good sense to see it

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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