starring Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Hoult, Finn Little, Jon Bernthal
screenplay by Michael Koryta and Charles Leavitt and Taylor Sheridan, based on the book by Michael Koryta
directed by Taylor Sheridan
by Walter Chaw A certain déjà vu occurs with movies that feature what Gregory Peck once referred to as an endlessly replicable script. The hero who has endured trauma and, through the auspices of the film's familiar master plot, is given an opportunity to heal. In the parlance of this formula, perhaps there will be surrogate parents and children, replays--whether in the service of a literal time-loop or a figurative one--of inciting events with the opportunity to redress them, or... Look, I'm trying to find a clever way to say that Taylor Sheridan's Those Who Wish Me Dead is a new movie you've seen at least a hundred times before. It is one in every ten films or so. At its best, it's a cozy throwback to deadening programmers like The Client that saw great casts and decent budgets at the mercy of airport-rack bestsellers adapted by rote and delivered on time. At its worst, it's a meta-game of Scream where the instantly-exhausted viewer can nail major plot points based solely on the casting and the style of swooping once-helicopter/now-drone establishing shot. Maybe that's why there are so many superfluous cuts in this film--like how the introduction of one character to her summer home is split into six separate shots, none of them telling anything more than how she has arrived and managed to unlock the door.