Quick Takes: Scare Package, The Hunt, Vivarium

Scare Package. This film is an ode to 80s horror movie fans, from the cover that looks like poster for the 1986 horror comedy House, to the anthology structure that evokes Creepshow, to the many sight gags that remind us of Halloween, Alien, Friday the 13th, The Fog and more. Each segment takes on a horror movie trope or two, and while amusing doesn't quite sustain the energy throughout. Cutting out the two weakest entries and the meta jokes would have helped. There's still plenty to enjoy in the first hour.

The Hunt. Horror movies as commentary on social politics run the risk of tipping into preachy territory, and The Hunt is an ill-conceived face palm. It's capitalizing on our divided country with a violent fantasy that is obnoxious and much less clever that it thinks it is. There’s plenty of bloodshed, explosive carnage, and an epic fight between two women where no clothes are torn off.

Betty Gilpin is the reason to wade into this conceptual muck of a film. Her powerhouse performance is so strong and a heel kick to the teeth that I didn't see coming (even with three glorious seasons of Netflix's GLOW). There is a deep set, emotional core to her character that toggles between skilled warrior and emotionally unstable woman on the brink of a breakdown. And in between, Gilpin adds subtle, throwaway nuances that make for some incredibly funny moments. This performance reminds me a lot of Sigourney Weaver's breakthrough performance in Aliens, and can't wait to see what Gilpin has up her sleeve.

Vivarium. Finding a home is the quest for many couples, and unfortunately this couple gets plunged into the Twilight Zone. The movie is well-crafted and acted but the narrative stalls after the good set-up but its not a deal breaker. There's enough interesting developments to keep you engaged, even if the ending doesn't quite land.