Similar to Get Out, in the sense that the escalating foreboding of the first two acts is brilliantly developed, but also undermined by a third act descent into messy violence. Like J. Peele, Kusama does slow burning anxiety like a master, but lacks the more controlled 'Hitchcockian' sensibility needed to turn the action into set-pieces. Nonetheless, an effective thriller about liberal complacency & overcoming grief.
Great group of actors, ably led by Marshall-Green, who was tremendous in 'Quarry'. He's a man battling grief and suspicion. People talk badly about paranoia, but there is a thing called 'healthy paranoia'. It could also be called curiosity. People make excuses for weird behaviour instead of trying to figure it out. Group dynamics usually means that people are too polite to ask questions. Don't lock the fucking door!
So when I say "a that taut and tense thriller about men being trapped in a house that have full of sinister things lurking behind, opens with the protagonists running over a wild animal with their car, and directed not by white male", I am not talking about GET OUT.
you gotta be kidding me. the first thing you see here is someone running over a coyote. fucking disgusting and unnecesary. run over yourself the next time. 2 stars just because this is better than Jennifer's Body.
A tightly wound script by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi distinguishes this return to form for director Karyn Kusama. A group of old friends reunite two years after a child's death separated them only to possibly find themselves being courted, or worse, by a cult. Casting is apt with Logan Marshall-Green excelling. The final shot is quite haunting.
The best, albeit plenty oblique, treatment I've seen of what went into and came out of Herff Applewhite's Heaven's Gate cult a couple of decades ago. So: a lot of loss, and pain. Desperate, wishful thinking. Escape, in one form or another. No UFOs, but then, were there any in the first place? This movie just worked for me. It freaked me out, jerked my tears, locked me to the edge of my seat, all that good stuff.
There are a few genuinely intense moments peppered throughout an overall stale affair. The finale was a real chiller, but it doesn't make up for the predictability or dialogue we had to endure. Outside of the lead, and John Carroll Lynch playing an eerie outsider, most of the actors were not pulling their weight. What is one to expect from the director of Jennifer's Body? Ugh.
One of 2016's early highlights is the latest film from Karyn Kusama, an underrated, or perhaps simply underestimated, auteur. This tense, smartly written thriller is the definition of a 'slow burn.' The languid pace is precisely what allows the viewer to feel like they, too, are a guest at this dinner party, occupying both the chic labyrinth of this L.A. pad as well as the fractured psychology of these characters.