Reviews of Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri (by Martin McDonagh), The Killing of a Sacred Deer (by Yorgos Lanthimos), and Creep 2 (by Mark Duplass and friends).
BY DANIEL MATTI / BLURT FILM EDITOR
(Go HERE to view the Blurt Movie Thoughts master page, which has links to all previous installments.)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
4 out of 5 stars
With a movie title like that, you figured it would be a movie that would be hard to remember but after leaving the film, Three Billboards will be stuck in your head for a while. From the hilariously dark mind of Martin McDonagh (In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths) comes his newest film, and he doesn’t stray away from his normal style of filmmaking—movies that are filled with vivid characters who come to the screen to do damage in numbers. Here, the cast includes Francis McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, John Hawkes, and Peter Dinklage.
Mildred Hayes (McDormand) who is a recently-divorced, still-grieving mother over the death of her daughter who was raped then brutally murdered, rents out three billboards seven months after the murder, all located within a few feet of her house and on a road not many travel down. The billboard read, in order, “Raped while dying”—“And still no arrests”—“How come, Chief Willoughby?”
Chief Willoughby (Harrelson) and racist officer Jason Dixon (Rockwell) are notified about the billboards, which brings on a series of events to try to figure out who killed Mildred’s daughter.
With a topic such a rape and murder you would think that you would not be ready for a movie filled with belly laughs, but here, it is quite the opposite. Martin McDonagh movies have characters who are as evil and conniving as they are laughable (either at or along with).
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was initially out in select cities, but distribution was subsequently expanded and it is currently in most markets.
5 out of 5 stars
From the warped mind of Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster, Dogtooth) comes his latest, amazing, but yet hard to stomach movie. Now, when I say hard to stomach you can take that in two ways. As in, this movie is shit, or this movie has a couple scenes that will make you cringe in your chair. This movie will definitely make you cringe in your chair.
Starring in the film is Colin Farrell as Steven Murphy, a cardiothoracic surgeon who befriends Martin (Barry Keoghan), a grieving young teenage boy whose father was lost on the operating table years ago when Steven performed surgery on him. Martin comes over for dinner and befriends the rest of the family, which includes Nicole Kidman as Steven’s wife, Anna, along with their children Bob and Kim (played by Sunny Suljic and Raffey Cassidy).
Martin tries to repay the favor by asking Steven over to his house for dinner. He obliges, but then later, Martin’s mother makes sexual advances towards him, making him uncomfortable and eager to leave. Martin then tracks down Steven at the hospital where he works to let him know that he has placed a curse on Steven and that he must choose one of the members of his own family. As the curse moves forwards—including paralyzing Bob and Kim along with making them not eat—tension is built through the movie via a free-jazz style soundtrack that puts a cold sweat on the back of the viewer’s neck, leaving you anxious to have some resolution in the near future.
With dizzying camerawork and a stunning acting from the whole crew, this is one that will go on to make it into this year’s top 10 movies.
4 out of 5 stars
Found footage horror movies are something that filmmakers either hate deeply or love immensely. From The Blair Witch Project to V/H/S to Paranormal Activity, there have been some that rule the genre as well as those you can instantly forget came out.
From Mark Duplass (The League, Creep, and a lot of other amazing projects), Patrick Brice (Creep, The Overnight), and Jason Blum (CEO of Blumhouse Productions) comes the sequel to 2014’s Creep, a movie that you might have watched on Netflix in the wee hours of the night as you searched for something unique to watch. If you haven’t yet, make sure to go watch Creep now before you read anymore. It’s definitely worth watching.
Here, Sara is a videographer/blogger who has a YouTube series titled “Encounters” where she meets eccentric characters, ranging from people who like to cuddle to some who just want them to be in a hot tub with. From her not knowing what to do next and thinking of ending her series, Sara finds an ad where somebody has offered to $1,000 to film them for an entire day. Who that person is, Sara will then go on to figure out that is none other than, Aaron (Duplass), aka “Peach Fuzz.”
If you remember the first Creep then you might have had the same horrible dream of the character “Peach Fuzz” and how Mark Duplass can play a delightful, but yet sinister and terrifying murderer.
Aaron reveals to her that he is a depressed killer who feels like he is losing his momentum and passion, then invites Sara along for the ride that she definitely was not expecting. Sara soon goes toe-to-toe with Aaron via games and trying to be ahead of the curve as she documents her day with the murderer.
If you’re looking for something that will make you squirm, laugh, and say “what the fuck” out loud a lot, make sure you watch Creep 2, but only if you’ve seen Creep first.