I really dig little thrillers that get under your skin. They are usually films not many people have heard of, and usually star character driven actors. And they are usually quite intense, possibly weird, and often disturbing. Michael Cera is not an actor known for these types of movies. He is best known for his loveable and awkward goofs and geeks in films like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Juno and Superbad as well as the series Arrested Development. But I have always thought he had a certain quality that would translate well in a weird and kind of scary role. He is unpredictable and that could be used to startling effect. Cera puts this quality on display in the new film Magic Magic.
Alicia (Juno Temple) is excited and nervous to go on vacation in South America with her cousin Sarah (Emily Browning) and a few of Sarah’s friends. When Sarah gets called away at the last minute, Alicia must go on to the vacation cabin with Sarah’s friends, including the strange exchange student with a sadistic streak. Even once Sarah arrives, Alicia becomes more and more intimidated and frightened by Sarah’s friends and starts to unravel slowly and question her own sanity.
Magic Magic is exactly one of those films I was mentioning; it gets under your skin almost immediately and stays there for the duration of the film. The whole situation that Alicia is in is uncomfortable from the start, especially any confrontation that happens with Cera’s character Brink, an odd, quirky guy of the sort that if you met him in real life, you would instantly be suspicious of him. He just does not seem right. As Alicia’s sanity starts to slip and we discover more about not only the friends of Sarah, but about Alicia herself, the story takes some interesting turns and keeps the viewer guessing as to what the hell is going to happen next. Performances across the board are very good, with Cera and Temple really stealing the show. The film is written and directed by Sebastián Silva, a relative newcomer, and his talents are formidable. The film is drenched in sinister atmosphere and the story is methodical and unpredictable. He made two films with Cera this year, the other being Crystal Fairy, which I have already heard good things about. Silva is definitely someone on my radar now and I am curious what he will be doing next.
Available Now on DVD.