Villians – 2019

Written and Directed by Dan Berk, Robert Olsen
Starring Bill Skarsgård, Maika Monroe, Blake Baumgartner, Jeffrey Donovan, Kyra Sedgwick

New talent is tough to find. Few diamonds and a lot of rough. This time we have some good acting talent, but a rote story directed with a precise brevity. There’s nothing really horrendous about any of this. There is absolutely nothing about it that makes me feel like I need to think of it again.

The story is a familiar one: small time thieves who break into the wrong house. They find someone in the basement, then they are happened upon by the owners. Much of the film is played for laughs. There were people in my theatre who did laugh. I don’t recall even grinning.

I didn’t hate the film is not a very high selling point. It is very familiar in theme to countless other films. There is nothing even remotely mysterious that isn’t answered directly within minutes of one wondering.

The performances are neither good nor bad. I had not seen Sedgewick since The Possession, and I had really high hopes. Monroe exhibited some real skill in It Follows, and she is the best thing here, when not trying to match the dimwit antics of her boyfriend, played by Skarsgård.

It’s clear the vibe the directors are going for is just north of Twilight Zone with Sedgewick and Donovan playing a couple out of time and out of their minds. The overall effect is nil, though. It doesn’t help that the couple doesn’t seem familiar enough with their own confines to know when and where someone might be climbing through them. I am not a master of my own domicile, but I can surely tell where the sounds come from.

In the end, that’s the kind of experience that comes through in the writing. There just isn’t enough skill behind the lens here to justify the talent in front of it.

(** out of *****)

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