Monday, May 31, 2021

Most Likely to Die


There are few things more powerful than a very well-organized type-A overachieving student council member.

Make them homicidal and you should probably be very, very afraid.

Quick Plot: Ian, twin brother Derek, Derek's girlfriend Jenny, and pal Miriam are overachieving high school seniors who rotate sports practice and yearbook club with a less common teenage hobby: murder.

Every few weeks, the group plans a random homicidal attack on strangers, changing up their style each time to avoid the authorities piecing anything together (though it always involves some variation on Purge-style masks). Ian and Derek's dad happens to be the quiet town's chief of police who slowly starts to connect some dots. Meanwhile, Miriam shows dangerous signs of having grown a conscience while Ian is intent on pinning it all on a well-meaning English teacher.

There's really not much more to Extracurricular, which isn't necessarily a complaint. Slickly directed by Ray Xue from Matthew Abrams and Padgett Arango's screenplay, this is a sharp-looking, well-acted little thriller without grand ambitions of any real character or thematic exploration.

There are jokes within Extracurricular about the silliness of nihilism, but let's face it: Extracurricular is itself an incredibly nihilistic movie, with sociopathic characters and a mean, murder-filled finale that serves up a horrible fate to the only people in the film ever referred to as "nice". You're not going to feel good about the world when this is over, but depending on your tase, you might leave entertained.

High Points
Enough can't be said about the young cast (many who have already built up their resumes with more mainstream work). It would have been very easy for all of them to push a little too hard on the "evil little rich kid" bite, but each actor manages to find just the right level of cruel, confident indifference

Low Points
I mean, they're also all horrible monsters and we don't have any kind of protagonist worth rooting for, so if that bugs you...

Lessons Learned
Adolescent testosterone combined with too much Nietzsche is a dangerous combination

The fancier the neighborhood, the longer it will take neighbors to call the cops on noise disturbance, even if it involves multiple shotgun rounds in the middle of the night

It's really easy to learn everything you need to know about a person via their city hall footprint

Extracurricular is a cold film, one that doesn't necessarily invite you in or, well, give you THAT much. Still, I found it sleek enough to be satisfying, so if you're in a particularly sociopathic mood, Amazon Prime is there for you.

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