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Karyn Kusama's Destroyer

Annual Top Films Lists

Top 100 Most Anticipated American Indie Films of 2018: #20. Karyn Kusama’s Destroyer


She didn’t exactly lose her footing, but Karyn Kusama found herself in the dream scenario moving directly from indiewood Sundance accolades to Hollywood misfires back in the naughts to getting her groove back when she made her fourth feature The Invitation (read review). Since then, Kusama has shot several TV series and contributed to the short film horror anthology XX (2016), before landing back in the saddle this past November with what sounds like a badass project in Destroyer. Filming took place in Los Angeles and the final clapper board should come to a close at the beginning of February.

Spotful &

Based on an original screenplay by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, this crime thriller stars Nicole Kidman, Tatiana Maslany, Sebastian Stan, Toby Kebbell, Bradley Whitford and Scoot McNairy, and follows  the moral and existential odyssey of LAPD detective Erin Bell who, as a young cop, was placed undercover with a gang in the California desert with tragic results. When the leader of that gang re-emerges many years later, she must work her way back through the remaining members and into her own history with them to finally reckon with the demons that destroyed her past. This is a reunion for team The Invitation in Kusama, Hay and Manfredi.

Release Date/Prediction: I’m making a bold prediction, and they’ll have to rush it, but this stands a good chance at playing in the Main Comp at Cannes — a return to the croisette for the filmmaker after premiering her debut film Girlfight in the Directors’ Fortnight (2000).

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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