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Dangerous Ones Is A Perfect Idea Not Given Its Due

By Joseph Holmes

In a mashup of genres so perfect it’s a wonder no one seems to have thought it before, Dangerous Ones throws together the classic Breaking Bad style “drug cartel crime drama” and Your Next style “indie cabin-in-the woods home invasion horror” genres, with the drug ring being this movie’s slashers. It’s a stroke of genre-defying genius, and when the movie leans into that brilliant blending of those two genres tropes, it really works. Unfortunately, the moments where the movie doesn’t work are more frequent than the moments it does work.

There is definitely fun to be had with this movie. The movie often captures the intoxicating vibe of the best of the Neo-Western crime fiction, with its slow-burn dread and sudden brutal violence that can drop at any moment. Throwing in a naive and (sometimes) endearingly hapless big-city couple from all our favorite slasher films, and you have perfect fishes out of water to clash with this movie’s monsters that is both darkly comedic and genuinely unnerving. The cinematography is also really impressive, making the movie look like many times its budget.

That said, much of the script and acting are definitely undercooked. The movie may mash up these genres, but it doesn’t add any new ideas or twists to either one, or cause them to clash with each other in interesting ways very often. The lead couple in particular are as bland and their conflicts as tedious as you would imagine if you’ve ever watched a slasher film, yet lack the campy fun of those movies, which is unfortunate because their scenes go on a very long time. The quality acting also differs wildly from actor to actor, with some being flawless and others feeling like they were grabbed off the street.

This speaks to a larger identity problem with the film. The movie is told in a very “serious” and reverent tone, and yet most of the scenes—even the good ones—are mostly a collection of genre cliches, and lack an overarching “point” or “message” like a Hell or High Water that justifies how seriously the film seems to want us to take it. Yet it also lacks the cheap, gleeful thrills that a straight b-movie slasher film like Your Next would indulge in which would make up for its lack of depth.

You can see the difference if you watch the director’s previous film At The End of Eight. That film was both a gleeful celebration of b-movie horror films, and had an underlying message and social commentary that held the film together, making it both a thoughtful and shamelessly fun ride.

If the novelty of the genre mashup makes you curious enough to check it out, you will probably get some surface-level enjoyment from it. Otherwise you’re better off waiting for someone to truly take advantage of this creative premise.

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