A Horror Thriller That By no means Lives Up To Its Potential


  • Poor performances and a very formidable script maintain again Jennifer Reeder’s Perpetrator from reaching its full potential.
  • Whereas there are some efficient horror moments and a mysterious plot, the movie lacks consistency and fails to completely develop its villains.
  • Regardless of its supernatural, feminist themes, and promising younger expertise, Perpetrator in the end suffers from uneven appearing and an absence of focus in its storytelling.



Editor’s be aware: This piece was written in the course of the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. With out the labor of the writers and actors at present on strike, the film being lined right here would not exist.

Jennifer Reeder’s Perpetrator has some enjoyable concepts however is held again by poor performances and a script that’s juggling an excessive amount of. The author-director has a specific imaginative and prescient for the world she is constructing and there are points of it that basically work. One other minimize of this movie would have in all probability been higher. From a horror standpoint, there aren’t many bounce scares, however just a few ugly moments will provide you with chills. The script performs out like a thriller that retains you guessing, nevertheless it additionally works towards the movie at factors. Perpetrator has one thing necessary to say however simply doesn’t know find out how to say it.

Jonny (Kiah McKirnan) is an outspoken teenager despatched to stay along with her aunt Hildie (Alicia Silverstone). The 2 don’t get alongside in any respect and co-exist regardless of one another, however they share a supernatural bond. When Hildie bites her tongue, Jonny bleeds. Jonny begins asking questions and finally Hildie reveals that Jonny additionally has skills, however the origin of those skills comes from the darkest components of their respective pasts. At college, Jonny is much from in style, however she is aware of find out how to make a fast buck and that garners the eye of different college students. Although they don’t precisely love how she does enterprise, the women do kind a bond, which is sweet as a result of the boys on the faculty are psychopaths and no trainer, male or feminine, may be trusted. It quickly turns into clear to Jonny that somebody on the faculty is concentrating on the feminine college students.

Perpetrator has a really interesting premise. Evil academics, a sisterhood of witches, and an aunt who has all of the solutions however evokes zero belief. Sadly these components don’t gel nicely collectively. The movie builds a great basis that features horrible males and plots a course for the ladies to return out on high, however there is no such thing as a consistency to this motif. On the one hand, it is very straightforward and, frankly, enjoyable to root towards the varsity principal (Christopher Lowell). Then again, it isn’t completely clear what his position because the antagonist is by the tip of the movie. By the start of the third act it is clear what the villains of the movie are after, however who they really are is much extra imprecise. When the movie ends, the closure depicted onscreen holds no weight.

The factor that really stops Perpetrator from being nice is the performances. Reeder goes for a stylized type of directing, however the result’s a mish-mash of dangerous and infrequently horrible appearing. Within the movie’s protection, there’s a sure degree of camp that many horror motion pictures stay in, and that tunes the appearing to a frequency you received’t see on the Academy Awards. Besides, the overacting by Silverstone can’t be ignored. She delivers virtually each line of dialogue with a way of unwarranted profundity that doesn’t match the scene or the movie. McKirnan performs the position of a youngster nicely however is unrelenting in her fury. Each the script and the actor are too one-dimensional, leaving no room for development or character growth within the nuances of her efficiency.


Perpetrator is supernatural, feminist, and creepy as hell. And whereas these bones are alive and nicely, the momentum of the movie is nonexistent. The appearing is uneven and at occasions even outwardly dangerous, though the solid is brimming with promising younger expertise. The script has a number of potential however by no means zeroes in on one topic lengthy sufficient. Reeder has loads of expertise as a filmmaker however little or no of it comes by way of in Perpetrator.

Perpetrator is now enjoying in choose theaters and is out there to stream on Shudder. The movie is 101 minutes lengthy and never rated.

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