There are some gory moments (a man’s leg is sliced, the flesh falling off like meat from a rotisserie, and a sleazy character has a grisly encounter with a lawnmower), but the film extracts more laughs than genuine scares.
There’s comedy in its depiction of the Swedish prime minister as a caricature of even-temperedness, but from its gaudy 70s costuming to its goofy, wobbling tone, everything about this film feels uncomfortably broad.
The ugly visual effects are outdone only by the sound design, which is relentlessly loud and thunderingly tedious. Verbal exchanges between the humans are devoid of wit and barely functional in communicating the story.
Those who enjoy Blumhouse productions for their unabashed silliness will be pleased to discover a sticky slice of schlock, with both household appliances and prosthetic genitals given their genre moments.
Hawkins seems beguiled by Manning’s natural charisma, and more interested in the highs and lows of her personal reckoning. These are fascinating in their own right, yet more context might have made this feel like more of a definitive portrait.
Writer-director Victor Levin’s caustic take on the romcom works better as a treatise on the genre than as an example of it. The staging of the individual scenes feels like an afterthought, with the stars and script doing all the heavy lifting. Still, the scaffolding is there.
There’s a tepid, cross-cultural romantic comedy trapped inside this televisual hostage drama. The reliable Moore is trapped too. Even she can’t animate the material, leaving the graphic denouement feeling like a bum note.
The attempts at authentic stoner dialogue soon become tedious, with too little plot or character development grounding the inanity (Hill’s self-written script also features an eyebrow-raising overuse of the N-word).
There’s a sense of Stranger Things camaraderie among Billy and his foster siblings, who are actually fun to spend time with, and the film’s message of found family is a sweet one. Still, its overblown finale overstays its welcome, teeing up the team as mainstays in the inevitable sequel.
The film’s sometimes tiresome sense of humour is laddish in its embrace of viscera (blood, boils, vomit and live spiders all feature), but as the narrative trots (or, rather, plods) along, its men are revealed to be endearingly less so.