Some of the supporting actors register, especially Michael Mando as the unpretentious but quick-witted chief engineer. But the only surprise is Skarsgård. He has played wife-beaters, vampires, rapists, and mute would-be detectives, but who’d have thought he’d make a credible nerd?
The Mustang brought the sensation back of having to slow down and breathe with a horse and in the process leave yourself behind. Any movie that makes leaving oneself behind so tactile and enticing is a horse of a different color.
As a horror buff, I hate to admit it, but Peele’s attachment to creaky genre tropes is already starting to hold him back. The good news is that he’s more than halfway to creating his own syntax, his own means for illuminating the sunken places of the world. I have a feeling there will be miraculous excavations to come.
The cancer-buddy movie Paddleton (which premieres today on Netflix) is embarrassingly bad until 20 minutes from the end, when it’s suddenly very good — quiet, tightly focused, stunning. It’s a pity that the first hour needs to be endured, but it does set the stage as well as soften you up for the indelible scene to come.
Stalk-and-kill movies bear some resemblance to classic farces, but no horror movies have taken the similarities as far as Happy Death Day and its busier, just-as-fun sequel, Happy Death 2 U. The new film repeats some of the original material but with even more madcap permutations.
Nicholas McCarthy, the director of the new bad-seed movie, The Prodigy, works in a low key that still somehow scrapes your nerves, so when the nasty stuff arrives, you realize (too late!) that you’ve been softened up for the kill. The film is cruelly well-made.
The souped-up plot is certainly indigestible (cheesecake, beefcake, bullets — choke on that), and there’s a steady stream of bad laughs, but something genuinely frightening comes through: a woman’s sense of disempowerment by men on all sides of the law. Hardwicke sticks to her guns — meaning there’s no play in the gunplay, only horror.
Serenity isn’t just meant to surprise you — which it will — but to give you an emotional wallop — which it may or may not. It didn’t work for me: I was too hung up on the fanciness (and, in truth, ridiculousness) of the final half-hour to feel everything Knight wanted me to feel.
Rust Creek lets you exhale just a bit. It’s tight without being punishing, and its humor takes you happily by surprise. In this sort of film, you’re on guard for pop-up scares and sudden spasms of gore, not for moments of blessed connection. The humanism feels positively radical.