“Arizona” is a dark horror/comedy set after the housing collapse in 2009, an era that ought to have inspired more dark horror/comedies than it has. It stars Rosemarie DeWitt as a divorced mom in an Arizona suburb who’s about to lose her house while still working for the sleazy realtor (Seth Rogen) who sold it to her. A disgruntled homeowner played by Danny McBride confronts the boss, accidentally kills him, then takes DeWitt hostage because she witnessed it. Things escalate from there, as they do.
It starts out well, if you’re into dark comedies where violent things happen, which I very much am. McBride isn’t a terrifying psycho but a doofy suburban dad who’s immediately in over his head with a woman who’s smart and resourceful. He’s got DeWitt tied up in his kitchen when his ex-wife walks in, and she’s played by Kaitlin Olson — Dee on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” If you know that show, you know how funny (and mean) she can be when responding to a man’s frustrating stupidity.
But the movie, directed by first-timer Jonathan Watson and written by Luke Del Tredici (TV’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”), soon stops being the funny version of this story and just becomes the regular version, where McBride is a psycho with no compunction about killing, and that gets old fast. And it’s a shame. DeWitt is perfect, the underlying premise of a man driven to desperation by the housing collapse is fine material, and a mostly abandoned housing tract where all the homes look the same and there’s nothing for miles around is a great horror setting. And David Alan Grier as the local sheriff! But alas, it all falls apart. JUST LIKE THE HOUSING MARKET.
C+ (1 hr., 25 min.; )