Parents' Guide to

Cult Killer

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Brutal but surprisingly thoughtful thriller about abuse.

Movie R 2024 105 minutes
Cult Killer Movie Poster: Pointing a gun and looking merciless, private eye Cassie Holt (Alice Eve, left) stands next to her mentor, Mikeal Tallini (Antonio Banderas, right)

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
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Kids say: Not yet rated

This low-budget crime drama is far from a throwaway B movie. It never shies away from dark, brutal, but altogether human material, and it's unexpectedly rich in character and intelligent in execution. Coming from director Jon Keeyes, whose movies are usually throwaways, Cult Killer is unexpected. (It's the feature debut of screenwriter Charles Burnley.) It gives us characters with complete backstories and in-depth motivations, and the actors are blessed with plenty to work with. Alice Eve gives a measured, thoughtful performance as Cassie, perhaps the finest work of her career to date. Her scenes with Banderas—layered in as well-placed flashbacks throughout—feel utterly organic, as if they were merely talking rather than acting.

The plot moves smoothly and confidently, and even though the sadistic villains are almost too evil to be real, the movie makes them feel real. The third act last-minute, race-against-time climax unfortunately smacks of cut corners, but the movie saves itself with a gratifying ending. Above all, while Cult Killer gets quite dark, it manages to view victims of abuse with tenderness and empathy, and it's a surprisingly effective work.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: January 19, 2024
  • On DVD or streaming: February 6, 2024
  • Cast: Alice Eve , Antonio Banderas , Shelley Hennig
  • Director: Jon Keeyes
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: Saban Films
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Run time: 105 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: violent content, language and some sexual references
  • Last updated: February 6, 2024

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