By Ceara Kelly, Contributor
[B Story, 2018]
Do you want to watch teens raging against the machine? Taking any and all action needed to bring down the current power structure of upper-class societies? Cool, then go watch Heathers, because this is nothing more than an eventless hour and half that leaves you as emotionless as the lead character.
Thoroughbreds tries to take front and center as this generation’s teen cult film, but falls flat as two teen girls, Lily and Amanda, try again and again to murder Lily’s step-father. The problem is he isn’t really awful enough to root against, but he is certainly not a good enough person to root for. He has as much personality as a soggy piece of cardboard. In fact, every character can be described similarly. The only character that ever really changes over the course of the movie and lets the audience actually feel something was also a statutory rapist, hanging around with two teenage girls (which was a completely pointless detail that was only used to mock the character and never really called out).
While it isn’t necessary to like any characters to actually enjoy a movie, it certainly helps with a movie as bizarre as this one. One of the leads’ main motivations for killing the step-father is that he’s noisy. He does plenty of actually horrid things, but not until after Amanda suggests killing him and Lily agrees. The man deserves to die because he’s noisy, and to really drive it home, the whole movie constantly sounds like an overproduced ASMR video.
That wasn’t the only strange artistic direction of the film. The variety of shots is equally odd. Some are quite nice, others clearly are trying so hard to mark this movie as unique. The director clearly learned how to work a camera in “How to Make a Film Look Tragically Hip 101.” There was nothing effortless in the movie’s creation; everything was so obviously calculated to make this movie an instant festival winner rather than a quality film. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a movie to be unique and artistic, but it still has to be good.
It also wouldn’t be a movie with a mentally ill character if it didn’t make them violent and murderous. That’s right, yet another murderer who’s just “crazy!” Amanda is supposedly completely void of all emotions, which explains why she butchers her childhood horse without a second thought and talks about it with little to no remorse. It’s even better when she’s the one that flat out states murdering a noisy stepdad is a perfectly logical option. She even goes as far as agreeing that her life is meaningless based on her condition.
Overall, Thoroughbreds is a mediocre movie. It has many flaws, but it seems to be aware of all of them, with some of them even being poked fun at. Most jokes did land, and the absurdity of it all was what let the movie be the slightest bit enjoyable. It may not be the work of art it seemingly aims to be, but it was fun and certainly gave the audience something to laugh about. Unfortunately, it suffers from the current plague of terrible pacing, leaving you with whiplash from the constant changes in mood and the abrupt ending. Overall, the movie may be just campy enough to be a cult classic, just not as big as those it tried so hard to be.
Watch the trailer here: