Meewella | Critic

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Tag: Maika Monroe

QuickView: Villains (2019)

“This is a hell of a predicament we find ourselves in.”


A dark and off-kilter comedic take on home invasion horror, Villains veers between the surprising and predictable but its unsettling central performances are a delight to watch. Trimmed of any fat, we join a petty criminal couple mid-robbery, spending just long enough to appreciate that they ill-prepared but besotted with one another (reminiscent of Pulp Fiction’s Pumpkin and Honey Bunny) before moving to the house in which the remainder of this bottle movie is set. Jeffrey Donovan and Kyra Sedgwick bring a delirious Coraline-esque creepiness to the owners, all artificial smiles and crazed eyes, whilst also providing a warped glimpse at a potential future of the younger couple. The weak link is the tonal inconsistency in a script that never quite knows what it wants to be, so feels at times like a pastiche of its influences. Nevertheless, light acting and direction provide a deft gloss over darker themes, leaving Villains entertaining if insubstantial.


QuickView: Tau (2018)

“They gave me life, but I did the rest. I created me. You understand? We grow up, and we become our own creators.”


Despite pretensions toward cerebral sci-fi in the vein of Ex Machina, this is really a derivative trapped woman thriller that is elevated only by some impressive production design. The conceit is that Julie’s captor is using an AI-controlled house to imprison her, allowing her to develop a relationship with the AI rather than directly with her captor. Although Tau raises a few interesting ideas about controlling AI and limiting its access to information, it fails to capitalise on these. That the science fiction is more about aesthetic than intellect is clearest from the way deletion of memories is used as a method of “punishing” the AI but inexplicably manifests as inflicting pain.


"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2023 Priyan Meewella

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