The less you know about “Gone Girl” going in, the better.

Directed by David Fincher, the adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s novel has a lot more going on than the trailer suggests. It’s a seedy thriller that evolves into something darkly comic. It’s not the film I expected going in, with a surprising twist that completely changes the narrative and direction.

Ben Affleck stars as Nick Dunne, who becomes the focus of an intense media circus when his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) disappears on the couple’s fifth wedding anniversary.

The marriage appears to be perfect on the surface, but the longer the hunt continues, the more it looks less like a kidnapping and more like Nick killed his wife.

The great thing about “Gone Girl” is that this is much more than a conventional thriller.

The mystery of Amy’s disappearance sets the stage for a twist as the film becomes more of an examination of everything from the media’s role in Scott Peterson-type cases to how much married couples really know about each other. When the film shifts, it turns into a pitch black comedy – something impossible to imagine if you’ve only seen the ads for the film.

Affleck is solid in the lead, while Pike gives a varied layered performance that evolves as the story unfolds.

There is also some great supporting work, especially from Tyler Perry as a Johnny Cochran-style lawyer and Carrie Coon as Nick’s twin sister.

Fincher’s direction is crisp, more like his straightforward approach in “Zodiac,” with elements of “7” and “Fight Club” mixed in.

“Gone Girl” may not be the big-time Oscar contender it was originally positioned to be, but it is still a highly entertaining piece of pulp fiction.

Also in theaters

While “Gone Girl” is entertaining trash, this week’s other new release, “Annabelle,” (D) is more trash and way less entertaining.

The prequel to “The Conjuring” is nothing more than a case of a studio trying to cash in on the previous film. It’s dull, predictable and really dumb.

“Annabelle” serves as the origin story for the creepy doll that was one of the centerpieces of “The Conjuring,” with creepy things happening to Mia (Annabelle Wallis) and John (Ward Horton) after their next-door neighbors are brutally murdered by their cult member daughter.

The couple soon learn that the daughter might have been responsible for summoning a demon spirit that inhabits the doll, intent on taking the soul of the couple’s newborn child.

“Annabelle” is no “Child’s Play” or even “Magic.” Director John R. Leonetti’s idea of building suspense is using close-ups of the creepy doll.

The story is just as absurd, with a series of near-death experiences involving Mia while John is away from the house. John comes off as one of the dumbest characters in any recent horror movie, while Mia also manages to make her share of head-scratching decisions.

It all builds to a finale that leaves the franchise open for more installments. Judging by the box office from opening weekend, it appears that will happen. The thought of another film is scarier than anything in “Annabelle.”

“Annabelle” is rated R for intense sequences of disturbing violence and terror and is now playing at the Regal Greenwood Mall Stadium 10 and Highland Cinemas in Glasgow.

— To get  Micheal Compton’s thoughts on all things movies, visit his blog or on Twitter at Email him at


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