Screenshot: Under The Silver Lake (YouTube)

The A.V. Club considers David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows a new classic, not just of the horror genre, but of cinema in general, a masterful display of formal ingenuity and raw psychological dread that feels timeless in its fears. Needless to say, we’ve been excited to see what Mitchell comes up with next.

If It Follows was the auteur’s Boogie Nights, a bold and confident work of art announcing the arrival of a major new talent, the trailer for his next film, Under The Silver Lake, suggests he may have jumped straight to his Inherent Vice, an odd and irreverent flexing of Mitchell’s more experimental cinematic muscles. From the Hollywood setting to the mysterious plot to the skewed neo-noir comic tone, everything here looks like the work of a director intent on doing something very different from his last project. Whereas It Follows took the slightly dreamlike vibe and teenage-centric focus from his debut, The Myth Of The American Sleepover, and wedded them to a tale of terror, Under The Silver Lake takes the trappings of a classic mystery—woman disappears in the night—and explodes it into a cracked vision of everything-is-connected paranoia and oddball humor.

Advertisement

Andrew Garfield is Mitchell’s shambolic protagonist Sam, a guy who stumbles upon an alluring woman (Riley Keough) one evening, only to have her subsequently vanish overnight, empty apartment and all. With the cops seemingly indifferent, Sam starts conducting his own investigation—one that soon takes him from mysterious markings on the woman’s walls down a trippy conspiracy-theory well of secret codes, hidden meanings in songs, and a whole array of strange forces hiding a massive cover-up. It’s an appealing if warped contribution to the pantheon of unusual L.A. gumshoes, with Sam looking to sit comfortably in between The Long Goodbye’s Philip Marlowe and Inherent Vice’s Larry “Doc” Sportello, albeit one who is unintentionally pushed into the job through his own curiosity. We’ll know just how committed Sam is to the conspiracy when Under The Silver Lake is released June 22.