James Dittiger/Netflix Scrawl this one in your magic killer notebook if you've heard it before: A popular, beloved Japanese manga and anime catches the attention of an American studio desperate for that sweet trans-global box office.
The antihero who gains possession of the deadly notebook is still named Light, his investigator rival still goes by the alias "L," and the spiny-headed trickster deity who pulls all the strings remains Ryuk (now completely divorced from his origins as a Shinigami, an ancient Japanese god of death).
Then last year he directed Blair Witch , another meek franchise reboot (he seems to be carving a niche for himself, since his upcoming slate includes a new take on South Korean thriller I Saw the Devil and another Godzilla movie).
Light is further egged on by Ryuk (voiced with trademark menace by Willem Dafoe), although the prosthetic-rendered demon has little to do besides sulk in corners and sneer; his real corrupting influence is girlfriend Mia (Margaret Qualley from The Leftovers ), a cheerleader who turns into a psychopath quicker than it takes most pots to boil.
Get Out 's Lakeith Stanfield, a master of soft-spoken and slightly off characters, does what he can with "L"'s eccentricities, but his spasms of personality (eating candy by the fistful, crouching on the furniture like a bird) seem to have been forced out of the actor like a Sunken Place possession.
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