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– by Daniel Tafoya
Bill Skarsgård and Maika Monroe star as a criminal couple on the run in the new dark comedy Villains. When we first meet them, they’re in the middle of robbing a convenience store. They’re a head over heels in love duo who need the money to make an escape to Florida. Things don’t go remotely as planned though, and they soon end up having to fight to survive an encounter with a far out suburban couple with ill intentions in mind for them.
Mickey and Jules are the former couple, and everything that can go wrong does for them, after the robbery. Their stolen car runs out of gas on a nearby back road and they proceed to stumble into the nearest house. That house belongs to George (Jeffrey Donovan) and Gloria (Kyra Sedgwick), a seemingly quaint, innocent couple who on the surface seem like they came right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. They are far from that picture-perfect image, though. They’ve got a little girl chained up in their basement whom Mickey and Jules accidentally find, and our leads are soon to join her down there, if George and Gloria have anything to say about it. Can our young lovers survive this deadly encounter? And will they ever make it to the Sunshine State for the rest and relaxation they’ll so clearly need after all of this craziness?
The cast assembled for Villains is by far the highlight of the film. Skarsgård and Monroe are an extremely cute and winsome couple, despite their criminal tendencies. Their love for each other is palpable and they both are called upon to show far they’d go to save the other when push comes to shove. Donovan and Sedgwick are the polar opposite. Their relationship has clearly seen better days and needs the spark of violence and evil to keep things interesting. The pitting of the two duos against each other makes for an interesting matchup. Can love triumph over evil, in the end?
One other particular highlight is the score by Martin Hewitt. It is propulsive, and soundtracks the movie heavily, keeping things moving at a relatively fast clip. Not that the movie’s plot ever slows down, but said score makes it seem as though there’s nary a chance to catch your breath, as matters escalate rather quickly.
Villains finds its humor in the performances of its actors. Skarsgård and Sedgwick, in particular, bring laughs that enliven the movie and make it a notch or two better than it would be if the plot was played straight. There are quite a few chuckles and gasps to be had while watching Villains and a couple of surprises too, that keep the viewer guessing and glued to the theater seat or couch, depending on your choice of viewing venue.
Recommended if you liked: Natural Born Killers, Don’t Breathe, Sightseers
 
FINAL GRADE: B-

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