4 Recent Streaming Screen Psychopaths

hushHush (2016)

The Plot: A deaf woman (Kate Siegel, Oculus) is terrorized within her own remote home by a psychopath.

The Psychopath: He’s a stranger (John Gallagher Jr., 10 Cloverfield Lane) with a now-requisite, emotionless mask, but without a motive, backstory or explanation. He likes to stab things.

The Review: Like Wait Until Dark updated for the emoji crowd, Hush makes the most of its simple home-invasion premise until director/co-writer Mike Flanagan (Before I Wake) succumbs to wear-out, likely from leaping so many gaping plot holes. Pretty decent, until it’s not.

emilieEmelie (2015)

The Plot: Three siblings are terrorized within their own suburban home by a psychopath while their parents are having a date night.

The Psychopath: Emelie (Sarah Bolger, The Lazarus Effect) poses as a babysitter, although she’s clearly not, what with such shenanigans as showing the kids Mom and Dad’s sex tape and changing her tampon in front of the tween boy (Joshua Rush, Mr. Peabody & Sherman). Oh, and plotting to steal the cutest, smallest tot.

The Review: The film marks the fictional feature debut of Michael Thelin. While I’d like to say I would not have suspected something this twisted from a man whose whose CV is dominated by emo-pop music videos and concerts (Paramore, All Time Low, Panic! At the Disco, et al.), the truth is I would not have suspected something this twisted from damn near anyone. A continual surprise, Emelie lets Bolger bid the family-friendly portion of her career adieu and the result sticks with you like shards of Jolly Ranchers on your teeth.

girlphotographsThe Girl in the Photographs (2015)

The Plot: The townspeople of li’l ol’ Spearfish, S.D., are terrorized within their own quaint haven by a psychopath.

The Psychopath: He wears a now-requisite, emotionless mask. He likes to stab things — namely, young women, whose photos he snaps after killing them and posting them over town. Just wait until he discovers Instagram and Snapchat …

The Review: Delving into the “obscene and sinister” world of photography, this Girl represents a large leap upward in quality for director Nick Simon (Removal). While blonde Claudia Lee (Kick-Ass 2) is the star, Harold & Kumar’s Kal Penn steals the spotlight — and not always in a good way — as an insufferable shutterbug prick in the perv mode of Terry Richardson: “This gum tastes like garlic semen.” And despite strong flaws, this is a nasty piece of work. I dug it.

leftbehindLeft Behind (2014)

The Plot: Passengers of a commercial airliner — not to mention the populace of the entire planet — are terrorized by a mysterious event that makes true believers simultaneously vanish, leaving no trace but a pile of clothes (which is a funny effect to witness).

The Psychopath: In this case, it’s the film’s director, Vic Armstrong (the Dolph Lundgren vehicle Army of One), for inflicting this remake of the 2000 Kirk Cameron vehicle upon us, even if he did up the star wattage with Oscar winner Nicolas Cage as an unfaithful pilot who says things like, “If your mom’s gonna run away with another man, may as well be Jesus, huh?” Are your tax problems that bad, Nic?

The Review: Based on the crazy-popular series of novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Left Behind isn’t so much a movie as it is an exercise in End Times proselytization, seemingly cast with whoever happened to be in line Thursday night at Chick-fil-A and could pass a stringent affluence test. Except for the part where a one-man plane crashes into a mall parking lot, this visual sermon is abysmal, largely built upon the pilot’s daughter (Cassi Thomson, Grave Halloween) wandering aimlessly around town. Not since the previous Left Behind movie has The Rapture been this boring. —Rod Lott

Get them at Amazon.

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