While 99% of movie-going horror fans will be flocking to see Shane Black's The Predator when it invades US theaters on September 14th, there's another promising creeper getting a nationwide release that same day that definitely looks worthy of our collective attentions. Lionsgate is billing A Simple Favor as a thriller, but a couple of new TV spots make it fairly certain it'll drift deep into horror territory. Besides, the boarder between thrillers and horror movies has always been incredibly opaque.
In A Simple Favor, which was directed by Paul Feig, Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) is a mommy vlogger who seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily's (Blake Lively) sudden disappearance from their small town. Stephanie is joined by Emily's husband Sean (Henry Golding) in this stylish thriller filled with twists and betrayals, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty, murder and revenge.
Hopefully, A Simple Favor will snap Feig out of the funk he's been in since the fiasco that was Ghostbusters, released in 2016. While no one can deny that the director and his cast were unfairly eviscerated by toxic fan culture, the film was only fair (at best). In some ways, Ghostbusters has become Feig's white whale; he insists he has nothing but pride for his iteration of the 1980s classic, and has gone so far as to say he believes his Ghostbusters deserves a sequel (statements that, in my opinion, prove the filmmaker is too emotionally invested to examine the situation objectively). I'm not trying to bash the man; A Simple Favor looks great and I sincerely hope it sets Feig back on track. Other upcoming projects on his IMDB page include a made-for-TV film called Girls Code and a sequel to 2013's The Heat.
Anna Kendrick is an unsung heroine of the horror genre. Yes, the actress best known for playing Beca in the Pitch Perfect trilogy has "Future Scream Queen" written all over her. While turns in the Twilight franchise and voicing a character in Monster House barely qualify, Kendrick turned in harrowing (and hilarious) performances in The Voices and Life After Beth. Horror fans also have a soft spot for Lively; the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants/Gossip Girl actress delivered a stunning turn as Nancy in 2016's The Shallows (a shark-centric horror movie that puts the recent mega-blockbuster The Meg to shame). Hopefully, A Simple Favor will be another gold star for each of these talented (and drop dead gorgeous) thespians.
At its core, A Simple Favor is a mystery, something perhaps akin to Gone Girl with a bit of madcap eccentricity that echoes TBS's Search Party. Is this suburban backdrop subterfuge for some unknown evil? Are the friendly, professional veneers of upper-middle-classism set to shatter? Or is Stephanie (Kendrick) a bored housewife, losing her ability to differentiate paranoid fantasies from reality? I guess we'll have to see the film to know for sure! Thanks to Lionsgate for the trailers.