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January 17th, 2017

Gone Girl **1/2

[Warning. Spoiler alerts ahead]

Picture it: you are living your regular routine life. When suddenly you discover that your wife is a twisted, calculating, manipulative, vindictive, murderous psycho.

That’s what Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) has to contend with in “Gone Girl.”

“Gone Girl” is a horror movie for adults. And it’s the surprise blockbuster hit of the season.

Even in the best relationships, there are times where you look at your partner and just don’t have a clue what’s going on in her head. “Gone Girl” takes this uncomfortable concept and creates a nightmarish worst case scenario about what your wife really might be pondering while she’s sitting there expressionless.

The story begins with Nick Dunne at a small town Missouri bar drinking bourbon and ruminating about how his once happy marriage has become miserable.

When he comes home and discovers that his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) has vanished, Nick is perplexed. But he’s also visibly relieved. The relief slowly turns to confusion and panic as all of the clues in the missing person case seem to point to him.

The media pounces on the story. Nick is living in a pressure cooker where he has to watch reporters and talking heads demonize him every night. Everyone, including his own sister, begins to wrongly believe that he is guilty.

That’s about the time that director David Fincher (“The Social Network”) reveals that the title of the movie doesn’t just refer to the disappearance. It refers to Amy’s sanity and moral compass. They are totally gone (, girl).

David Fincher has always been a talented director but a lousy editor. Some dramas actually should be 2 ½ hours long. But “Gone Girl” isn’t a drama. It’s a horror movie, plain and simple. And it should have been an hour shorter.

Amy is not a real person; she’s a psycho girlfriend stereotype multiplied by a thousand. She isn’t believable. But she’s truly frightening.

Right after watching “Gone Girl,” I got paranoid that I was going to catastrophically fight and break up with my girlfriend during our first conversation. And on the ride home from the movie, I thought that the car behind me was following in a sinister manner. And after the car passed me, I feared that the driver intentionally slowed down to mess with me somehow.

I guess that means that “Gone Girl” is an effective, well-made thriller. I sure as heck don’t recommend it, though.

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