Possibly the most fun film at this year’s festival, this unabashedly hilarious and thrilling mash-up of spy flicks and 80s slashers from director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett, the minds behind previous TIFF crowd pleaser, You’re Next.
Dan Stevens stars as David, an amiable and polite soldier just out of his most recent tour of duty who has come to stay with the Peterson family to fulfill the last request of a fallen member from his unit. Skeptical of this stranger that everyone seems to like and accept with open arms, daughter Anna (Maika Monroe, who also stars in Midnight Madness entry It Follows) does some digging and finds out that David isn’t who he appears to be.
With a first half that plays like a deadpan comedy about a military man who makes everyone’s life better by being around and a second half that goes balls to the wall insane after a plot twist explaining David’s motivations, the film gets a lot of mileage at taking itself at face value, but never too seriously. Gone is the self-reflexivity of Wingard and Barrett’s last film, and replaced by a genuine desire to entertain without overdoing it.
Also, Stevens is cool as fuck, adopting an American accent and swagger that harkens back to Terry O’Quinn and Jeff Fahey back in the 80s. And Monroe and her little brother played by Brendan Meyer are perfect foils.
You owe it to yourself to see this one with a crowd. (Andrew Parker)
Saturday, September 13th, 11:59pm, Ryerson Theatre
Sunday, September 14th, 6:45pm, Scotiabank 3