‘BUFFALOED’ OFFERS ROWDY SATIRE; ‘WE SUMMON THE DARKNESS’ FALLS FLAT – At The Movies With Kasey
In Buffaloed, Peg (Zoey Deutch) grows up in a working-class home in Buffalo, where her single mom, Kathy (Judy Greer), struggles to make ends meet while raising Peg and her brother, JJ (Noah Reid). Peg spends her adolescence training herself to be the next Warren Buffet and to get into Harvard. Basically, she becomes a hustler and, after her Harvard acceptance letter comes in, she goes for one last hustle to get the money to pay for school. And she gets busted. Once she is released from prison, Peg is desperate to earn the money to clear her legal debts and ends up becoming a debt collector—her next hustle. When Peg runs afoul of Wizz (Jai Courtney), the abusive boss of a local debt collecting agency, she will need all of her outsized confidence, and some help from Assistant District Attorney Graham (Jermain Fowler), to get out of trouble.
I loved this movie. Zoey Deutch’s charming, bonkers performance quickly grabbed my attention for this wild, ridiculous take on debt collection and getting rich in America. One part The Wolf of Wall Street and one part The Big Short, Buffaloed offers a biting take on debt and an anti-hero who is hilarious and exciting, whichever side of the law she happens to be on in a given scene. The performances from the ensemble cast and a sharp, quirky screenplay made this movie a lot of fun to watch. Its tight 95-minute runtime means that the pace is as quick as Peg’s monologues. I made my husband watch this one with me a second time.
Buffaloed was written by Brian Sacca and directed by Tanya Wexler. It runs 95 minutes and is not rated, but I’d put it between a high PG-13 and low R for language and some sexuality. It is now streaming on Hulu.
New on Netflix, We Summon The Darkness is a horror flick that follows friends Alexis (Alexandra Daddario), Val (Maddie Hasson), and Beverly (Amy Forsyth) to a heavy metal concert happening during a string of satanic murders across the country. Feeling relatively safe due to their sleepy, rural location, the girls head to Alexis’s family home after the concert with three guys they met there, Mark (Keean Johnson), Kovacs (Logan Miller), and Ivan (Austin Swift). No one ever thinks they’re going to be the victims of a satanic cult, though, right?
Initially, I was drawn into We Summon The Darkness because it is set in Indiana in 1988. The production has a lot of fun with the costumes, props, and music to set the scene, and it actually does look like Indiana in the summer. The story aims to put a new spin on the Satanic Panic of the late-1980s and the setting and the cult factor give the movie a campiness that is really fun at first. As the story progresses, however, the film devolves into a cross between slasher movie tropes and a knock off of The Craft. Plus, we are supposed to buy Johnny Knoxville as a televangelist.
I think that We Summon The Darkness would be a fun film to save for a crisp October afternoon with some cider and Halloween candy. Outside of that context, the movie has one fun idea (I won’t spoil it—that twist on the Satanic Panic), but it is otherwise neither very creative nor well made. As the story starts to fall apart, what keeps the movie interesting at all is the chemistry between the actresses. Alexandra Daddario anchors the trio with a charismatic performance, while Amy Forsyth plays the straight man and Maddie Hasson attempts to be the comedic relief. Overall, this movie is one that you can just skip if you are not interested in the genre in-jokes that are the movie’s best part.
We Summon The Darkness was written by Alan Trezza and directed by Marc Meyers. It runs 91 minutes and is rated R for bloody violence, pervasive language, some drug use, and sexual references.
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