The Frontier ★★★½

There's something quite delightful that happens in a film when a group of bad people find themselves in a single locale, goals often at odds with each other. You're not sure who to root for though a good director will steer you in the right direction or at least the direction they want you to go in. First time feature director/writer Oren Shai wants you to root for Jocelin Donahue's Laine though she is clearly not a good person but at least not as bad as some others. I really liked the film. After an unsteady first act that introduces all of the players, motivation and misdeeds become clear which paves the way for an endgame that is well staged. The whole thing has a vintage feel at times looking like it was shot on an old studio backlot. In fact, it could almost be staged as a three-act play. The dialogue is crisp and all the actors are on point especially Donahue. I had the thought that this is the kind of nasty business Janet Leigh's Marion Crane would've gotten into if she hadn't run afoul of Norman Bates. Ultimately, it's nothing earth-shattering but it is fun and clever and delivers an appropriately justified ending for everyone involved. Good stuff.