‘Villains’ brings out the best in the bad guys with successful dark humor

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of BRON Studios | Daily Texan Staff

It turns out the best movies are the ones with no heroes at all.

“Villains” is a dark comedy directed by Dan Berk and Robert Olsen that follows a criminal couple who breaks into a home that unfortunately belongs to a couple who may be more dangerous than them. The film stars Bill Skarsgård (Pennywise the Clown in “IT”) and Maika Monroe as the two main characters.

The dynamic duo of Skarsgård and Monroe is primarily why this film works so well. The relationship between Mickey and Jules is surprisingly sweet and witty. The actors play off each other very naturally, and it's hard not to believe they are actually in love. Their performance is so likable that only minutes after the duo robs a convenience store at gunpoint, the audience is compelled to root for the criminals. This is such a unique dynamic, as it really challenges the cliché dynamic of the good guys and the bad guys. This film is simply bad guys and badder guys.

Jeffrey Donovan's George and Kyra Sedgwick’s Gloria are worthy antagonists for the film. While George is very much a one-dimensional villain, Gloria expresses a bit more development and lore within her character. The villainous duo plays morbidly off of one another, with Donovan’s George clearly caring for his wife’s well-being in a distorted sort of way.

The story is generally straightforward — two lovers are determined to head to Florida to start anew even if it means committing several crimes to get there. The motivation of the characters is enough for the audience to get on board, and when the antagonists show up, it is easy to root for the success of Mickey and Jules. The story is intercut with strange VHS-style videos of a beach, which culminate into a big emotional reveal at the end of the story. The tone of the film is generally dark and comedic, though as the film progresses, the antagonists simply seem more absurd than intimidating. It would have been beneficial to retain a more menacing tone to up the stakes of the danger.

The cinematography is a bit too clean and simple to match the content of the film. Visuals are often crisp and bright, something that undermines the grittiness of the story. A darker, more uncomfortable style of filming would have been more integral to the scope of the story. Regardless, this doesn’t impact the entertainment factor of the film.

“Villains” is a neat, exceptionally evil, dark comedy that somehow gets its audience to root for the criminals. That, in itself, is no small feat.

“Villains”

Score: 3.6/5