Hi there, as the lock down grinds on, how about we take a look at a few widely available (Amazon, Netflix etc) low-budget thrillers, all featuring twists in the lead characters – played by actors who normally essay more ‘vanilla’-type roles. All of these I found to be supremely watchable, and don’t overstay their welcome, which makes for ideal post 10:30pm fodder during a pandemic lock down.
Dan ‘Downton‘ Stevens in The Guest
Here we go then, in order of release
NO ONE LIVES (2012)
Ryuhei Kitamura (Midnight Meat Train) directs Luke Evans (Beauty & The Beast, Dracula Unbound) as the kind of chap even the most depraved criminals would be best advised to cross the street rather than meet.
As you’ll see when you watch the picture.
Evans and Fox News ‘personality’ Brodus Clay in No-One Lives
Evans has obviously played bad guys before (Furious 7, Message From The King), but his career trajectory is now firmly geared to leading man status so this may throw you a curve.
THE GUEST (2014)
Such a nice boy in Downton Abbey, Dan Stevens flexes his acting chops in this very dark, but pretty funny movie, starring as a supposed army buddy of a family’s died-in-combat son.
A super-soldier that doesn’t have quite the same values as Steve Rogers… Stevens gets his teeth stuck into the role and is really very good.
To paraphrase Ron Perlman’s ‘Johner’ in Alien Resurrection (1997), Stevens’ character David Collins is ‘not the man with whom to fuck!’
THE GIFT (2015)
Watch now on Netflix
Lastly, something possibly a tad deeper, with Joel Edgerton (in his excellent movie directing debut) playing a creepy ex-school classmate of supposedly straight arrow Jason Bateman who returns to mix things up.
I think you can guess that things aren’t quite what they seem. An effective little thriller and one that lets Bateman play against his usually bland onscreen persona.
Bateman and Rebecca Hall in The Gift
In the words of the esteemed Judge Smails from Caddyshack (1980):