When I saw the first trailer for Villains, I was immediately drawn to it. It looked like such a delightful departure from anything I’d seen as of late at the movies. Plus, the performances looked absolutely incredible, just from the bits they showed in the ads. And after seeing it, it’s clear that this film falls into a specific category for me: films where the cast almost completely makes the film worthwhile. This cast and their stellar performances is what makes Villains pop, and it’s what makes it successful in what it’s trying to do.
I was looking forward to seeing Bill Skarsgard in something other than the It films. Now of course he was incredible in both It and It Chapter Two, but I’d never seen him as himself, as a human being, before. I was really impressed by his performance here. He gives such a lively performance and gives his character a very tangible lovability. Maika Monroe, who I spent the whole film wondering what I’d seen her in (It Follows), really gives it her all here. Monroe takes a character that’s pretty unlikable in the beginning and shows her good-hearted nature and spirit. I loved seeing both Monroe and Skarsgard’s character arcs over the duration of the film. They have some killer on-screen chemistry, too! They’re a very believable and likable couple for sure. Now…. the performance I marveled at the most was for sure Kyra Sedgwick. Sedgwick’s character is certifiably insane and she plays that with such an intense creep factor. She gives a performance I’d call deliciously nuts; she just looks like she’s having a ball getting to be this bonkers.
Last but not least is Jeffrey Donovan. Donovan plays Sedgwick’s wife, who is equally insane but not really in the same way. Sedgwick is, like I said, deliciously insane and whimsical, where as Donovan is tougher and more brutal. They serve as a good balance, a crazy yin and yang of sort. There are several very well laid out scenes that give you effective looks at just how dangerous and out of it these people really are. There are also clues and details shown about that very thing during scenes that are mainly focused on other things. There are some really devilish plot devices that I loved, ones that point to the psychopathic nature of Sedgwick and Donovan’s characters. I’m glad they supported those characters and provided some quality backstory.
The pacing of the movie is handled well overall — it’s only about an hour and a half, so it’s a short outing. I think the duration was fitting because a story like this can get tedious or run out of steam if you stretch it too long.
The directing and cinematography is very creative and different from other films of this genre. I sat there and just thought about how cool some of the shots were. I like to see creativity and some sense of individuality to a film. The script is well written, and pays attention to necessary things such as character development and relationships. Skarsgard and Monroe’s relationship is so well developed and both the performances and the good writing makes you feel that. The writing also does an exceptional job of mentioning something and bringing it back up later on in a clever way that strengthens the plot.
To be perfectly honest, there aren’t a lot of negatives here. The only thing I’d say about this film that isn’t stellar is that it’s not a 9 or 10. There is a moment in the middle where I was wondering if this had the necessary momentum to keep going strong… and it did. I guess what I’m saying is that with a 9 or a 10 type of film, such as Ready or Not or It Chapter Two, I never wondered for a second if there was enough momentum left.
Villains is a strong film. The performances by this ever-talented cast really does wonders for the film overall. They really are stellar, Sedgwick especially. The writing is clever and the direction is very unique and interesting. So if you never watched Downton Abbey, give this one a try this weekend.
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