Category Archives: thrillers

Shark!

IMG_2469.jpgLet’s face it, sometimes we’re all in the mood for a good shark attack movie.

And by let’s, I mean me, and by sometimes I mean pretty much all the time. Since “The Shallows” bit me in June last year, I guess shark movies are just my jam. (Okay, to be fair I learned in my “research” for this post that Vox just published an article on “Why We Love Shark Movies,” but I maintain that I was first to sink my teeth into this trend.)

So much that I was probably the only person excited to see “47 Meters Down” this weekend. It’s not just a shark attack movie, it’s a shark horror movie. “The Shallows” is more of a suspense woman vs. shark tale focused on the vulnerability of Blake Lively’s character, Nancy, as she is stuck on a rock just off the shore in Mexico with the cousin of Jaws circling about.

“47 Meters Down” has all of the vulnerability and formulaic tropes of characters facing a life or death situation, combined with the claustrophobia of “Open Water” and “Panic Room,” (no sharks, but small spaces.)

I thought for sure there would be no one else in the theater at the 11:10 a.m. showing today (not early enough in my opinion,) but alas I had to get my shark on with some other weirdos and a guy who did not know how to eat popcorn without letting everyone else know that was what was going on.

I wish a shark would have attacked him in the theater and really brought the movie to life.

This brings me to a joke by Ian Edwards noting that shark attacks don’t happen on their turf.

“Sharks live in the water. If you get caught down there, you’re trespassing …  a real shark attack is if you’re somewhere you’re supposed to be, and a shark shows up.”

For example, if you decide to go on an excursion in which you get locked in a cage and dropped into the ocean to “see” some sharks, you can expect that they’re going to stalk and bite you.

Mandy Moore’s character was all like “I don’t know if I want to do this” to her sister Kate, but Kate changed her mind by saying Lisa’s ex-boyfriend would take her back because she would seem adventurous and “not boring.”

Yeah, well not if you’re dead.

I was not on board with that plot point but, to build suspense and empathy for the characters, these movies often find a way to include an extra layer of vulnerability to an already vulnerable situation the characters willingly put themselves in.

Lisa agrees to join Kate and, within probably minutes, the rope holding their cage at just five meters below the water breaks and they plummet to 47 meters with not enough oxygen and sharks EVERYWHERE!

Believe it or not (don’t believe it) there is actually some mystery as to whether the boat crew was in cahoots with the sharks to try to do away with Kate and Lisa. However, (again, if you can suspend your disbelief) most of the horror is set between a school of extra large ocean monsters, declining oxygen levels and getting the bends.

Love or hate the formula of these movies, I was truly scared on a few occasions and tried not to think about whether Captain Taylor ( finally a chance for Matthew Modine to return to the big screen) was a bad guy and orchestrated the whole thing. Let’s (again by let’s I mean me) be real, that would have been way too much effort for the plot of a shark attack movie. Plus, there always has to be room for a sequel.

I knew what to expect with this movie, but couldn’t resist seeing it in the theater. Coming from a true fin, I mean fan, shark movies definitely need to be eaten up at your local cinema house.

Being that “47 Meters Down” is billed as a shark horror film, you’ll see some other horror trailers like “IT” (terrifying) and “Happy Death Day” (not as terrifying), which helped amp up the underwater scares once the feature started.

While I haven’t seen it yet, I recommend “It Comes at Night,” the sophmore project from “Krisha” director Trey Edward Shults, who also plays with the idea of claustrophobia in his films.

After this dose of horror, even just the trailer for “IT,” I know you’ll need a little comedic relief. Try “Detroiters” on Comedy Central starring and created by Veep’s Sam Richardson.   I assume T.J. Miller’s new special on HBO, airing tonight, will also do the trick. “Oh, Hello,” I almost forgot, John Mulaney and Nick Kroll’s Broadway brilliance is now streaming on Netflix.

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And Kid Gorgeous himself just added some dates, including Minneapolis in September, to his tour this year.

Yas and k, bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Out and Oh, Dear

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Well, since we last talked I saw “Get Out” and have been on a deep-dive of listening to interviews with Jordan Peele to learn more about the method behind the madness of his directorial debut.

If you’re looking for non-spoilery talks about it, try his chat with Chris Hardwick on The Nerdist and, after you’ve seen it, just know Jordan Peele and the film are all over the feeds of The Watch, Channel 33 and Pop Culture Happy Hour, deservedly so.

I knew there was a twist and layers to the film, and my first reaction to Peele’s work was that it was an effective mix of genres (horror and satire) and social commentary. On the surface, “Get Out” is a horror film and thriller and I think Peele shared his message, an important one, without taking away from delivering an entertaining and smart story.

Its scares are subtle and the dialogue and plot points are complex which, after soaking up all the media buzz about this film, makes me want to see it again.

As with most horror films, I recommend seeing it in the theater to share reactions with the audience (if you’re lucky enough to not be sitting in front of someone who seemed to be commenting on everything to her date.) Just take it in girl, then talk about it over some tea.

Before I move on to the fact that I watched “Serendipity” for the millionth time recently (okay, fine, I’ll spare you), I have a nugget about Kong: Skull Island to add in relation to my last post.

Comedy nerds probably know Marc Evan Jackson is in the film and that he dishes about it on the latest episode of I Was There Too with Matt Gourley. Do NOT listen to this if you haven’t seen the film, but just know that it’s lovely and is probably everything you expect to hear from these two dudes geeking out about a monster movie.

One thing I learned that you may want to know before seeing “Kong: Skull Island” is that there is another scene after the credits.

As for me, I am glad I didn’t know about it (even though I should have guessed since such extras are pretty commonplace these days), because I want Marc Evan Jackson and only Marc Evan Jackson to be the source of such information in my life.

I wish I had a better segue here, but I learned last night that one of the regular customers at the Edina Cinema and friend to all of the Landmark Theatres in Minneapolis, Larry, passed away.

Larry came in to the Edina Cinema and repeatedly saw the same film, often leaving halfway through. I didn’t know him well by any means, but he would always talk to me like we were friends and then would dish some facts about old movies that I would just love to listen to.

I guess I can’t picture better way to spend one’s time, and I hope it made Larry happy.

“That is all.”

 

 

Movie Week in Review: Spies and Romance

audreyhepburn-carygrant-charadeBig news from last week, I made it to movie 100! The film I watched wasn’t exactly what I intended to for such a milestone in this challenge; but after yet another stressful day at the office I wanted to see something at the theater I also work at (a place that is oddly calming for me) and unwind a bit.

The First Monday in May, a documentary about the celebrity-filled Met Gala organized to raise money for exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is for the most part an entertaining glimpse at art, fashion and film while presenting a small argument that they are one in the same. The curator for the exhibit at the center of the documentary and Met Gala hubbub, Andrew Bolton, said fashion especially should be considered as art and wanted to reflect that in his display of outfits and costumes inspired by Chinese culture.

Documentaries can be hit or miss and I will say this one perhaps could have went deeper into its subject matter and the development of the exhibit vs. the seating arrangement of famous people at the Met Gala and Anna Wintour wearing her sunglasses indoors. Those topics were a bit superficial to cover, while the portions of the film that provided a peek into her work on the Met board while leading Vogue and Bolton’s lifelong dream to be a museum curator were worth the coverage and left me wanting more. My favorite part (yes other than Rihanna’s appearance and the awkward moment with Larry David on the red carpet), was also a brief mention of how fashion was part of film in Chinese history and cinema’s influence in Bolton’s exhibit. If you want to check out more work by director Andrew Rossi, I (although I’m little bit biased here because of my former career as a journalist) prefer Page One: Inside the New York Times. The First Monday in May is a visual accomplishment in documentary film making, but lacks a little bit on the storytelling side.

Moving on, Charade, mixed with Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, started a theme of movies about spies and romance during the week also including An Affair to Remember and Badlands (minus the spies and plus a very dark and unsettling “love story.”)

MCDCOOF EC032Charade is one of the top films I’ve watched this year now and I really loved the build to the true dynamic between Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant’s characters as well as the secrets behind her husband’s death, his identity and the money at the center of everyone’s trust issues. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, from George Clooney and Charlie Kaufman, takes the memoir of game show host Chuck Barris to explore his rumored time as a CIA operative and how he balanced that with career and his love with Penny (Drew Barrymore.) In addition to being funny and mysterious, the film is visually on par using angles, close-ups on its characters and artistic technique to further tell the story. I’ve always liked Sam Rockwell, and this could be his best work that I’ve seen. He embodies Barris’ persona, yet makes it look effortless.

Badlands has the visual appeal carried by Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, but the more I think about it, the harder it is to say I like the film. I think that’s because the characters, primarily Martin Sheen as a murderous wayward soul from the wrong side of the tracks, are so dark and nonchalant about their actions that I found it very hard to relate to them on any level. I often associate films with how they make me feel and memories of when or where I watched them in addition to their cinematic quality, so Badlands is hard to fit into that complete picture. That said, Sheen and Sissy Spacek are dynamic together on screen as forbidden lovers whose characters are loosely based on a real-life couple on a crime spree that ends in the badlands of South Dakota. I think the film must have also inspired True Romance (definitely one of my favorite films of all time), if nothing else through the use of this song as Clarence and Alabama embark on their own crime spree.

I switched from romance and crime in the beginning of the week to a healthy balance of comedy, space, science and a little horror to make it to movie 106 on Saturday. Christopher Nolan’s space epic Interstellar is worth the three hours of time and will keep you guessing as to what will happen; especially in the last hour. I think, while I haven’t seen every space-themed movie, it’s one of the most (pardon the overuse) visually-appealing while being scientific, emotional and plus Matt Damon is in it. MATT DAMON!

I feel as though I am rambling at this point, but I do want to cover my last two entries of the week spanning the comedy-horror-parody genres: Best in Show and The Final Girls.

Christopher Guest’s look at the world of dog shows, in a “mockumentary” style, is pretty flawless and I could watch Parker Posey’s meltdowns over her dog and issues with her husband all day. I know nothing about the dog show world, but Guest seems to be spot on in his depiction while adding just the right amount of drama and quirk to his characters while they fight to be Best in Show.

Finally (bad segue) The Final Girls … one of many horror movie parody/tributes (think The Cabin in the Woods or even Scream) out there takes it to another level with a movie-in-a-movie format where the characters are challenged to find their way out by following the classic plot points used in the genre. Thomas Middleditch’s performance was my favorite in the film and it overall delivers a unique addition to what can be an overly-formulaic genre of movies.

Up next this week I am going to explore more Cary Grant films and want to collect enough titles to go on a binge of sports movies. There are a lot in 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die (sadly Major League isn’t one of them) so it’s time I expand my horizons in that regard. I welcome any recommendations.

“When you are young, your potential is infinite. You might do anything, really. You might be Einstein. You might be DiMaggio. Then you get to an age where what you might be gives way to what you have been. You weren’t Einstein. You weren’t anything. That’s a bad moment.”

Chuck Barris – Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

83 of 366: The Black Cat

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There is an owl hooting outside my window right now, which is fitting with my mood after watching the horror classic The Black Cat (and pretty creepy.)

The Black Cat (1934) has nothing to do with owls, rather an actual cat that causes episodes for Dr. Vitus Werdegast (Bela Lugosi) while staying at the house of his nemesis Hjalmar Poelzig (Boris Karloff.) The film’s plot is based on the concept from a story by Edgar Allen Poe.

Of course there is more to fear at Poelzig’s house than cats lurking in the shadows.

As fate would have it, Dr. Werdegast ends up there after a bus accident on the road just below the house along with a young couple who just got married.

Thinking they will all just be there for one night, it becomes clear for Dr. Werdegast and the couple, Peter and Joan Allison, that Poelzig has other plans in mind.

For one, he needs to settle a feud with Dr. Werdegast, or the other way around, going back at least 15 years when the doctor was in jail for a crime  he didn’t commit and meanwhile Poelzig was after his wife and daughter.

I won’t reveal their fate, but from the beginning it’s clear Dr. Werdegast is the good guy here and Poelzig is pure evil.

Lugosi, having played Dracula, and Karloff, known for his performance as Frankenstein, kept those personas in this film through their mannerisms and dialogue, even if it wasn’t intentional.

As far as horror films go, The Black Cat clearly paved the way for styles and plot points used in the genre today yet I don’t think anything like it has been made since then — at least that I’ve seen.

It could be inspiration on some level for any horror film starting with the premise that its characters are stranded in a remote cabin and forced to contend with evil spirits, a serial killer or one of their own. More often than not recent films have the characters willingly traveling to a locale that breeds bad things, The Cabin in the Woods, The Strangers, Creep; whereas The Black Cat truly places unsuspecting characters, at least at first, in a dangerous situation they don’t know is unfolding.

The film builds to be about the feud between Dr. Werdegast and Poelzig and then translates their issues with each other to the fate of the Allisons, who do slowly start to see something is amiss.

Stylistically, the film uses music in almost every scene that borders between light-hearted and a tone more fitting for a horror plot. It also captures the odd architecture and secret passageways in Poelzig’s home to show there is more than meets the eye throughout the whole story.

I will watch for characteristics of The Black Cat in horror films that I see from now on, but for now it’s clear the film set a precedent in the genre while keeping its own unique reputation after all these years.

 

68 of 366: 10 Cloverfield Lane

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rottentomatoes.com

The story in 10 Cloverfield Lane successfully spans across several genres of film including thriller, suspense, mystery and action all the way to a monster movie.

I am waiting until after I finish writing about it to go on a deep-dive about the ending and underlying themes so as not to influence my opinion of the film, but I am really excited to learn about the method behind director Dan Trachtenberg’s brilliant madness.

I won’t include the big spoilers in this review, but fair warning it’s hard to write about the film without including some of the specifics.

So you can stop reading now if you want … … …

The trailer for 10 Cloverfield Lane doesn’t give much away, which is imperative with this kind of film, other than to reveal that there is a car accident early on in the story (I think that’s in the plot description, too.) The character of Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is introduced not long before the accident, which is one of the many moments that caused me to look away from the screen. I did see enough of it to know that it sets the tone for the suspense and surprises to expect during the rest of the film.

After the accident, Michelle ends up in a seemingly post-apocalyptic  bunker belonging to Howard (John Goodman) and soon learns there is another captive there – Emmett, played by John Gallagher Jr.

I need a moment to interrupt the regularly scheduled programming and gush about Gallagher Jr., who is becoming my new “it boy,” or one of them as there is no way I can neglect the likes of Paul Dano, JGL, Matt Damon and don’t even get me started on my comedy crushes.

Gallagher Jr. was excellent in Short Term 12 and The Newsroom, even though I wasn’t a huge fan of that show and I like his beard in 10 Cloverfield Lane.

Back to that subject, it is the directorial feature-film debut for Trachtenberg with J.J. Abrams producing and a host of story developers and screenplay writers including Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken and Damien Chazelle (director of one of my favorite movies,Whiplash) on board.

After Michelle’s accident, the film explores whether what’s good and evil is inside of the bunker with Howard or outside where he says there has been an attack and the air is contaminated. He says he saved Michelle’s life after the accident by bringing her there.

Michelle always has some doubt that what Howard is saying is true and she is stuck deciding whether what is outside is a bigger threat or if it’s Howard.

For awhile the bunker even seems like a happy place with Emmett there and as the characters listen to music, play games and watch movies.

Of course the dark side of it all was never too far away and there was an effective build of anticipation throughout the story while the three characters were together. Then, the story took a new and unexpected turn that still fit in with the overall plot.

This is the part where I can’t get really specific (I know I haven’t done well with that so far), but just knowing there is a twist won’t ruin the complete surprises in 10 Cloverfield Lane.

Winstead as the hero, Goodman as the creepy captor and Gallagher Jr. as the mysterious, good-hearted sidekick, give solid individual performances and work well together in the film. It also has a strong presence of music … not just the tunes playing on the jukebox …but in the score that fits perfectly with the most suspenseful moments. It’s especially prominent in the first scene with the accident, which is before the opening credits even start, and continues throughout, much like in It Follows or Drive.

I didn’t see Cloverfield before this film, and I’ve heard they are mostly not related, but I am intrigued by that story now and to compare the two. 10 Cloverfield Lane also opens up the franchise to include movies, not necessarily a sequel, and Dan Trachtenberg definitely has promise if he continues to lead the project in collaboration with Abrams and the aforementioned writers.

More advice from Emily V. Gordon, especially if you happen to find yourself stuck in a bunker stocked with craft supplies, “You have a choice to release your creative efforts into the world.”

 

 

 

 

 

67 of 366: Deliverance

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imdb.com

What’s the plan Lewis? WHAT’S THE PLAN?

I feel like I am probably one of the few people that never saw Deliverance, but I did now and I’ll never forget it. I needed to watch two movies yesterday and my plan was to watch part of Deliverance in the morning and then do my errands and such. (riveting stuff, I know.) But I could not turn the movie off after about 30 minutes as Lewis (Burt Reynolds), Ed (Jon Voight), Bobby (Ned Beatty) and Drew (Ronny Cox) embarked on the canoe trip from hell.

Early on Ed asked Lewis if there were snakes out there (which would be my top concern, too), but that was the least of their problems.

The four friends decided to take the trip before the Cahulawassee River Georgia was turned into a lake, but they were not alone in the wilderness. There were no snakes that I saw, but mountain men run wild in the Cahulawassee neighborhood.

I won’t spoil it at all but Lewis, Ed, Bobby and Drew are faced with decisions that test their morals, strength, friendship and survival while on their trip, filmed in South Carolina and on the Chattooga River in Georgia.

From the beginning there was the sense, and visualization through the camera work, that someone was watching the group, even when they thought they had solved their problems.

Lewis is the leader of the group, but each friend has to take their turn deciding what to do to stay alive, especially after Lewis is injured on the river. Ed steps up a lot of the time but it’s evident he is worried about whether they will survive and be able to leave what happened on the river behind.

Deliverance is like Stand by Me but even more terrifying and suspenseful as it displays the themes of morals and the value of friendship and trust.

It’s also beautifully filmed and I don’t know how they accomplished the action sequences in such a realistic fashion as the group navigates rapids on the river and they almost drown in one scene. I could read more about it, especially since Deliverance is recommended in 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, but I’d rather leave it a mystery for now.

A tip of advice for anyone who owns that book and is watching the films, don’t read the whole plot synopsis, there are spoilers. Just look at the title, read the first few sentences and mark-away with Post-it notes, which I enjoy doing a little too much.

Then watch Deliverance.

Perhaps the fellows out there on the river in Georgia could have used a copy of Emily V. Gordon’s Super You to help in their time of crisis.

She writes, “We are all captains of our own ships, and we have enough to worry about just keeping ourselves afloat.”

 

 

63 of 366: Sicario

 

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Every once and a while a movie comes along with a style and performances that make you lose sight of the fact you are watching something created on screen through special effects, makeup, acting, etc.

Sicario is that way nearly from the beginning as FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) is thrust into fighting against the Mexican drug cartel as well as her superiors who are supposedly in that same fight with the same purpose.

Macer, after a FBI task force mission at a drug house with hostages in Arizona does not go entirely as planned, is recruited to put her tactical skills toward combating the drug cartel as long as she technically volunteers to do it.

She does so after much coaxing from Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) and is soon in the midst of what could be a corrupt plan to stop the top drug lord in Mexico by, ultimately, any means necessary.

Graver and another agent Alejandro, played by Benecio Del Toro, are the force behind that plan while Macer tries to do her job and protect people.

The story is often told from Macer’s point of view in a literary sense as her character develops on screen as well as through the use of style points and cinematography to show the viewer what she is experiencing.

Director Denis Villeneuve keeps the camera at bay from the characters’ actions and conversations in other scenes, including one of the first times that Macer confronts Graver after one of their early missions.

In between the action of shoot-outs at the Mexican border and in Juarez, the center of what is happening in Sicario is focused on morals, right vs. wrong and power and who has enough of those combined to be in full control.

Alejandro’s character certainly comes into play there as he borders between Macer’s biggest defender on the surface to being her biggest enemy. He is always there, but is it for protection of a fellow agent or other reasons?

Villeneuve and writer Taylor Sheridan keep just enough mystery there until the very end when Macer is faced with the truth and a decision that brings trust, morals and revenge all into play.

I get chills just thinking about the final scenes in Sicario and how effectively the individual character dynamics are mixed with the larger themes of corruption and crime in the film.

The three stars of the film, Blunt, Brolin and Del Toro, are fantastic and contribute to the sense that their physical and moral struggles are real rather than a cinematic story.

It’s a film I wish I could watch again this year, but I know there is no time for that. At least I have other titles from Villeneuve to watch, including Enemy and the upcoming Story of Your Life with my girl Amy Adams. Sicario will hook you on Villeneuve’s style of film making and creative choices as well as Emily Blunt’s versatility as an actress who  can take on any role without flaw. (Check out Looper and The Adjustment Bureau if you haven’t seen those.)

To end this with a quote, which I am going to get back into doing, I turned to the final page of my signed copy of That Is All by John Hodgman.

He writes, “And thank you for your kind attention, all the way to the end. All I can say is THANK YOU. That is all.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

56 of 366: Laura

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I welcome any excuse to dust off my film textbooks from college, today’s being Laura. The film, (1944), has a reputation as a film noir with a few twists and style points that take it away from being a full display of the genre.

Based on a novel turned play from Vera Caspary, who reportedly wasn’t happy with the film adaptation by Otto Preminger and writers Jay Dratler, Elizabeth Reinhardt and Samuel Hoffenstein, Laura is on the surface a story about a mysterious murder with the themes of love, loneliness and jealously in the background.

Laura (Gene Tierney), well established in her career at an advertising firm and social life, is a sought after woman by Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price), Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb), her mentor of sorts, and Lt. Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) after she goes out of town for a weekend and is supposedly murdered upon return to her apartment.

Lydecker, a well known, self absorbed columnist and radio show host, is enamored with Laura not long after she sees him at lunch and asks him to endorse a pen advertised by her company.

Many of the men in Laura’s life are enamored by her presence. McPherson, having never met Laura, feels the same way as he works on her murder case and spends most of his time her apartment with her portrait on the wall in nearly every scene there.

Laura won an Oscar for best cinematography after its release, an award that probably carried more meaning in that era, as the film effectively uses light and shadows and fade-in and outs to move the story along.

Some of those styles are characteristic of film noir, but in Laura, for example, the shadows are more often cast of individual characters on a wall or street rather than onto each other.

Laura as a character, while the central focus of the film, is also there to show the inner workings of the other characters and their true personas, motives and desires.

Thus the use of individual shadows stresses paying attention to each character alone rather than their relationships with each other. In one scene, however, as McPherson interrogates Laura at the police station, his shadow is cast on her face — showing they do perhaps have more of a connection than meets the eye.

That is one of the few scenes where I noticed a change in the use of shadows, and I found it to be one of the most telling moments in the film.

Overall, I think love is also one of the most prominent themes in Laura through the very end. Characters, whether it be between Carpenter, Lydecker or McPherson and Laura are often asking each other if they love her or if they think she loves them.

Laura mostly switches from the point of view of Lydecker and McPherson and in the end Lydecker, speaking on a radio broadcast, says it best to exemplify the meaning of love in the film.

“And thus, as history has proved, love is eternal. It has been the strongest motivation for human actions throughout centuries. Love is stronger than light. It reaches beyond the dark shadow of death.”

— Waldo Lydecker

 

 

 

 

42 of 366: The 4th Floor

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I didn’t realize it until today, but nothing would be more terrifying than being trapped in an apartment piled with packing peanuts at the hands of your creepy neighbor.

Luckily Juliette Lewis, as Jane Emelin in The 4th Floor, made it out but what she doesn’t know is if her creepy neighbor was really behind terrorizing her for weeks after she moves into her late aunt’s fourth-floor walk up or if it was someone close to her.

I won’t spoil it because the suspense in the film, also starring William Hurt and Shelley Duvall (you won’t recognize her), keeps it going for the 90 minutes of neighborly arguments turned — almost — deadly.

Emelin is dating William Hurt’s character, a television weatherman Greg Harrison, but decides to delay moving in with him to stay where her aunt lived. The fact that her aunt fell down the stairs and died in the very building Jane moved into should have been her first red flag, but she had memories of visiting the building and clearly wasn’t ready for shacking up with her local celebrity boyfriend.

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Fletchels sleeping through The 4th Floor.

That turned out to be a bad decision as the neighborly issues escalated from notes on her door to loud banging, knocks on the door in the middle of the night and eventually the classic mice and maggots infestation trick,

The 4th Floor obviously isn’t the source of William Hurt’s Oscar-winning performance, but it does present just enough suspense and scares if that’s what you’re in the mood for and has a good enough twist ending — even after the packing peanuts scene if you can believe it.

Writer and director Josh Klausner presents the question of who is really terrorizing Jane up until the end. Is it her neighbor downstairs, the super, her best friend who is jealous of her apartment, the man across the street who she perhaps witnesses commit a crime or someone else entirely?

The 4th Floor, as far as apartment-building centered thrillers goes, is not nearly as weird as Single White Female (at least I remember it being that way) and if nothing else is another excuse to watch William Hurt on screen. Just know that he, and Greg Harrison, will do whatever it takes.