Death Note (R21)
Starring Nat Wolff, Margaret Qualley, Shea Whigham
Directed by Adam Wingard
The Fault in Our Stars’ Nat Wolff plays Light Turner, a high school outcast who’s in possession of a mystical tome lets him kill off anyone — by scribbling their name in it. With this newfound godlike power, Light — with a little help from his consigliere, Ryuk, a CG-ed spiky demon voiced by Willem Dafoe, channelling Green Goblin — starts targeting criminals, dispensing instant vigilante justice where he deems fit. (OMG, he’s an armchair Dexter!)
Get Out’s Lakeith Stanfield plays L, a candy-popping super-detective tasked with cracking the case.
Beneath the supernatural coating, Death Note — based on a cult Japanese manga that’s been adapted into countless anime, video games and live-action features — is really a battle of wits between a righteous serial killer and a master sleuth.
But director Adam Wingard (Blair Witch) doesn’t seem to be interested in pursuing that; he’s keener on making it gory. In the Japanese version, the victims die from cardiac arrest; here, they kick the bucket horribly, Final Destination-style.
All in all, it’s neither terrific nor terrible, just... okay. Is it scary? Not really. Suspenseful? A little bit. The soundtrack is cool, though. (How many horror movies do you know use Chicago’s ‘I Don’t Wanna Live Without You ‘?) On Netflix. (**1/2)