After a pair of amateur criminals break into a suburban home, they stumble upon a dark secret that two sadistic homeowners will do anything to keep from getting out.After a pair of amateur criminals break into a suburban home, they stumble upon a dark secret that two sadistic homeowners will do anything to keep from getting out.After a pair of amateur criminals break into a suburban home, they stumble upon a dark secret that two sadistic homeowners will do anything to keep from getting out.
It looked promising... all the actors here are very talented. If nothing else, it could have been nicely demented in ways only indie horror dares to aim for.
But there's nothing really here script-wise you haven't seen unless you've just come off the Tom Hanks Mr. Rogers movie. In the past few years we've seen some really creative small production horror/black comedy/thrillers from "Bliss" to "68 Kill" --- movies that take no prisoners (or even spin new angles on old tropes like "Witch In the Window"), and the blood and guts rest stop is a last resort though that can be cool peppered in with well-developed characters and interesting plot twists.
"Villains" really doesn't have any of that. It starts out with Skarsgard and Monroe robbing a gas station, Natural Born Killers lite-style but with some nice cutting and a good chem between the leads. Both are pushing the overacting buttons just a tad, but it seems oddly in character. These are two lost souls who really do think their life is a movie, or they wish it was.
The big problem with these anti-heroes is you're never truly won over by them, but the script desperately wishes you were. Scene after scene we're hoping for something beneath the surface with Mickey and Jules, and we get a glimpse of it in the last few minutes of the movie --- up till then, they never seem engaged enough with each other or what's happening to make you really care. Monroe in particular is natural but oddly restrained. It's almost as if the light tone set at the beginning works against them for the rest of the film. Ditto the "sadistic crazy" couple whose crumbling country home they raid for a gallon of gas. They're bad but not REALLY that bad... hey shading is great but there's no decent story to hang anything on here.
"Villains" is a gigantic wish-wash of this type of soft pedaling. To generate real emotion and engagement you have to take some risks, but Villains plays it safe till an end that stretches all credibility and nullifies the scant backstory Monroe has been given (not a real original one, of course).
This isn't an awful film by any means and maybe some people will find it interesting, original, and off-beat in a warm-fuzzy way.
But if you go in expecting something off-the-wall insane like The Devil's Rejects or as creative as Apple TV+'s "Servant", you'll be disappointed. Or even something as sincere as the Mister Rogers movie, now that I think about it.
- Feb 1, 2020