Theatrical release poster
|Music by||Andrew Hewitt|
|Edited by||Sofi Marshall|
|Distributed by||Gunpowder & Sky|
It had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 9, 2019. It was released in the United States on September 20, 2019, by Gunpowder & Sky.
Wearing animal masks, two lovebirds Mickey and Jules rob a gas station and take off, celebrating their last sting before moving to Florida. While driving through the woods, their car runs out of gas. Jules spots a mailbox, and the couple discovers a large isolated house. They see a vehicle in the garage but the house appears empty. After breaking down the front door, they help themselves to food and do cocaine. They head down to the basement looking for a gas can, and discover a small girl, dirty and mute, chained to a column. Mickey is desperate to run, but Jules insists on helping the girl.
They return upstairs to find a way to release the girl, but meet the surprised homeowners George, Gloria, and their infant son Ethan. George and Gloria calmly offer money, but Jules is adamant to know why the little girl is downstairs. George explains that their “Sweetiepie” is down there for discipline. Mickey threatens them with his gun, but George diffuses the tension and convinces them to sit down and talk. Mickey keeps his gun cocked while George calmly offers them the chance to simply take their vehicle and leave, stating he'd be far less likely to call the police for the car than if they kidnapped Sweetiepie. Micky rejects their offer and backs up Jules’ demand to free the girl, forcing George at gunpoint to unlock her.
Free of her chains, Mickey tries to coax and reason with Sweetiepie to come forward, but she bites his hand. George knocks him unconscious, and Gloria restrains Jules. Mickey wakes up tied to a bed with Gloria dancing in front of him in lingerie, but she is upset when he does not respond the way she wants him too. The next time Gloria visits him, Mickey apologizes. He seduces her and convinces her to uncuff him, and then pushes her away and escapes. In the basement, Jules is tied to a post as Sweetiepie quietly plays nearby. Jules tells her of her childhood and how her parents left when she was 10. Upstairs, as Mickey begins to escape, he recoils from a close gun shot. George shoots again, hitting him in the leg, and ties him up in the basement with Jules, telling Sweetiepie to keep an eye on them. Jules and Mickey talk about their dreams for Florida and their hopes to sell shells. Mickey realizes that he can use Jules’ tongue ring to pick the locks on their handcuffs, and after ripping it out, he uncuffs her. Jules attempts to pick the lock of Mickey's cuff, but she breaks her tongue ring and is forced to go for help alone. Sweetiepie points to the laundry chute as an escape.
George realizes Jules has escaped and beats Mickey for information. Mickey lies and tells George that Jules has already left the house and is waiting for Mickey to join her at their meeting spot and she will go to the police if Mickey does not show up in an hour. George agrees to let Mickey go as both promise to not go to the police about the other's crimes. Jules hides in Ethan's nursery upstairs, discovering that he is actually a porcelain doll wrapped in a blanket. She overhears Mickey and George talking downstairs and misunderstands their conversation as George about to kill Mickey rather than let him go. Jules uses 'Ethan' as leverage, and coming out onto the landing she threatens to drop the doll, demanding they let Mickey go. An enraged Gloria shoots at her, causing Jules to drop the doll, and its ceramic head shatters on the floor.
The captives are duct taped at the dining table while Gloria cooks a meal. George explains that Gloria has always wanted a child, but he was unable to give her one. They kidnapped Sweetiepie to be their child, but Sweetiepie only reminded Gloria of the children she could never have. Gloria wanted Sweetpie killed, but George thought locking her in the basement was more merciful. Gloria tells Jules that when she was a little girl, her mother gave her 'Ethan' as a gift and died shortly after. Mickey and Jules begin to feel woozy, having eaten food drugged with what was found in Jules’ bag. George explains that he and Gloria will give Mickey and Jules heroin when they pass out, then report them as two drug-addicts who overdosed while robbing them. As Mickey and Jules begin to lose consciousness, a police officer knocks on the door to inform George that the robbers’ car was spotted nearby. The officer asks to come in and look around, but the dining room shows no sign of Mickey and Jules, who have been hidden in a bedroom by Gloria. The officer heads down to the basement, but gets called away before seeing Sweetiepie.
Jules awakens from her drug overdose, and after spotting her bag across the room, crawls to it and snorts a bump of cocaine. Regaining her strength, she puts cocaine into Mickey's nostrils to give him a 'boost' and wake him. George and Gloria return, finding the room empty and the window open, head outside to search the surrounding property. Mickey and Jules never left the house and only tricked George and Gloria into thinking they have. They use the opportunity to grab Sweetiepie and take the homeowners car keys. George returns before they can escape, and stands in the driveway with his gun. Mickey warns Jules and Sweetiepie to duck and drives forward, running over George and receiving fatal gunshot wounds in the process. George, injured but alive, pulls Jules out of the car and attempts to strangle her, but Sweetiepie picks up his gun and fatally shoots George through the head. As Jules goes to hug her, Sweetiepie speaks her first words, “I want to go with you”. Gloria comes out to see her blood-soaked husband and collapses next to him in maniacal joy, insisting he is just resting and they are about to leave to start a new life. Jules and Sweetiepie set off on foot and hitch a ride to Florida and begin Mickey's shell business on a beach.
Dan Berk and Robert Olsen's script for Villains was featured on the 2016 Black List, an annual list of the most-liked unproduced screenplays of that year. Development began with the casting of Bill Skarsgård and Maika Monroe in the lead roles in March 2018. Two weeks later, Kyra Sedgwick and Jeffrey Donovan joined the cast, and principal photography began that same week in New York City. On April 13, 2018, Donovan posted on Twitter that he had wrapped for Villains.
It had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 9, 2019. Shortly after, Gunpowder & Sky acquired distribution rights to the film with the intent to release it in mid-2019. It was released on September 20, 2019.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports an 84% approval rating with an average score of 7.5/10, based on 57 reviews. The site's consensus reads: "Led by a quartet of strong performances, Villains offers genre fans a delightfully dark thriller with a sharp comic streak".
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- Hipes, Patrick (December 12, 2016). "The Black List 2016 Scripts: Madonna Biopic 'Blond Ambition' Leads Rankings". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
- Hipes, Patrick (March 8, 2018). "Bill Skarsgård & Maika Monroe To Star In Darkly Comedic Thriller 'Villains' From Black List Script". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
- N'Duka, Amanda (March 21, 2018). "Kyra Sedgwick, Jeffrey Donovan Join Dark Comedy Film 'Villains'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
- Donovan, Jeffrey [@WickedpissaJD] (April 13, 2018). "Just wrapped #VILLAINS with an amazing cast. Kyra Sedgwick Bill Skargård and Maika Monroe. Wait till you see THIS ONE!!!!!!!!!!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Kilday, Gregg (January 16, 2019). "SXSW: Olivia Wilde, Seth Rogen, Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey to Premiere New Work". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
- Spangler, Todd (April 18, 2019). "SXSW Comedy Thriller 'Villains' Acquired by Gunpowder & Sky, MoviePass for U.S. Release". Variety. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
- Squires, John (August 8, 2019). "MOVIESStarring Bill Skarsgård and Maika Monroe, 'Villains' Will Release in September". Bloody-Disgusting.com. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
- "Villains (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 31, 2019.