Friday Film Roundup: ‘Bottoms,’ ‘The Equalizer 3,’ ‘Perpetrator,’ and More

ENTERTAINMENTBy 2024-01-24T16:27:19-05:00September 1st, 2023|
  • Bottoms (2023). Courtesy of ORION Pictures Inc. - © 2023 ORION RELEASING LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The first weekend of September is full of blood, guts, and gore. All five films we’re highlighting this weekend are pretty brutal affairs. We have the Denzel Washington-led Equalizer threequel, a bloody spoof of high school comedies, and two ultraviolent, indie horror films that are most definitely not for the faint of heart. It isn’t even October yet, but the Halloween season seems to already be upon us!

“Bottoms” (In Theaters)

A high-school spoof movie that splits the difference between “Not Another Teen Movie” and “Fight Club”, “Bottoms” reunites director Emma Seligman with co-writer and star Rachel Sennott in their follow-up to 2020’s “Shiva Baby.” This time, Sennott stars alongside comedian Ayo Edebiri, who has recently found mainstream acclaim for her performance in FX’s “The Bear”. Here, the two star as lifelong friends who are both gay and desperate to lose their virginities before college starts. As a last-ditch effort at some kind of popularity, they start a self-defense club for girls that gets out of hand pretty quickly.

“Bottoms” is easily the funniest movie of the year and maybe the funniest movie of the last couple of years. It is everything you want it to be and so much more. There’s a perfect blend of action and comedy, with a story that has some genuine heart behind it. The performances are all great, the parody is spot-on, and it’s been a long time since a movie has been this consistently funny all the way through.

“The Equalizer 3” (In Theaters)

Who would’ve thought that Denzel Washington, at nearly 70 years old, would be headlining one of the most anticipated action movie sequels of the year? This third, and final, installment in the surprisingly popular “Equalizer” adaptation relocates Washington’s Robert McCall — who, at this point, bears little resemblance to the Robert McCall of the 1980s TV series — to Italy, where he hopes to live out the rest of his days in peace.

However, when the Italian mafia starts encroaching on his little slice of heaven, he’s forced to “equalize” things one more time. Reuniting Washington with his “Man on Fire” co-star, Dakota Fanning, this mostly standalone installment looks like a fitting end to the franchise. Despite the hard-R rating, the two previous installments of the series grossed more than $100 million each. And with Fanning on board, this final “Equalizer” film may end up being the most popular one yet.

“Perpetrator” (Shudder)

Master of camp Jennifer Reeder’s new horror film, “Perpetrator,” is her wildest work yet. The film follows a 17-year-old girl played by Melanie Liburd (“This Is Us,”“Game of Thrones”) who’s sent to live with her great aunt just a week before her 18th birthday. Unbeknownst to her, she comes from a long line of shapeshifting women who can absorb the appearance, emotions, and thoughts of anyone around them.

Love it or hate it, “Perpetrator” is unlike anything you’ll see this year. Its blend of stomach-churning gore and feminist themes is complemented by its shamelessly campy tone and daring, bizarre performance by Alicia Silverstone. It’s also extremely divisive, garnering a decidedly mixed response following its premiere at Berlinale.

“Marisol” (In Theaters)

For some first-generation Latinos, the story of their journey to the United States is something of a mystery. For children who came to the states at a very young age, living in America is all they know. But as films like “Marisol” remind us, none of that matters if you’re undocumented. Even if you don’t know it.

The film follows its titular character (played by Esmeralda Camargo), a smart and hard-working high school student, as she gets ready to move on to college. However, she is arrested for a crime she didn’t commit and learns that she is, in fact, undocumented. This sensitive and unique portrayal of what it means to be an American will resonate with any first-generation immigrant trying to make a life for themselves in the US.

“Beaten to Death” (In Theaters)

When it comes to action and horror movies, Australia doesn’t mess around. Just a few months ago, “Talk to Me” was a minor hit in America, but there are countless Australian genre films that have found an audience abroad. We can add “Beaten to Death,” an aptly titled survival story that is being hailed as one of the year’s most uncompromisingly violent films, to the list. We know we’ve said it more than once at this point, but seriously: proceed at your own risk. And maybe don’t eat dinner right before seeing it.

Josef Rodriguez is a writer, filmmaker, and film critic living in New York City.