Many of those with a Netflix subscription will likely agree that the platform is home to some great true crime movies and TV shows. Yet, it should not go unnoticed that it also has a great catalog of fictional crime dramas – the latest of which is an upcoming film called Reptile.
With a title like that, this new Netflix original movie sounds like it should be included among the platform’s best monster movies or even in the nature documentary section. However, we can assure you that it is neither of those things, even though its subject matter might also qualify it as a new Netflix horror movie on a psychological level. Allow us to better explain what we mean by going through all the most essential facts about Reptile, starting with when it is expected to slither into your queue.
What Is The Reptile Release Date?
According to Netflix’s official blog, Tudum, Reptile will be available to stream on the platform on Friday, October 6, 2023. Another Tudum post reveals that the upcoming 2023 movie is one of the many Netflix originals set to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
Unlike many of those titles, Reptile boasts a dark story, which we will talk about more explicitly soon. However, one way the film does relate with the rest of Netflix’s TIFF slate — including the Chris Evans and Emily Blunt-led Pain Hustlers and Rustin with Colman Domingo — is a star-studded ensemble of top-notch talent.
Benicio Del Toro Leads The Reptile Cast
Academy Award winner Benicio del Toro (for Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic) is a master at playing bad guys (i.e. the classic Guy Ritchie movie, Snatch, or in Star Wars: The Last Jedi as the double-crossing DJ). Thus, his lead role in Reptile as a police detective named Tom Nichols seeking redemption from his troubled past serves as a, sort of, epilogue moment for his career. Playing Will, whose wife’s murder Nichols is investigating, is Grammy-winning pop star and Social Network cast member Justin Timberlake, whose gone to dark places as an actor before, as recently as leading Apple TV+’s Palmer in 2021.
Reuniting with Del Toro for the first time since 1997’s Excess Baggage to play Nichols’ wife Judy is Alicia Silverstone, whom the actor was delighted to reconnect with, as he shared with Tudum. The Reptile cast also includes Eric Bogosian from 2019’s A24 masterpiece Uncut Gems; Ato Essandoh, who is known for movies like Garden State and 2016’s Jason Bourne; and fellow musician Sky Ferreira, according to Deadline. Netflix movie veteran Dominic Lombardozzi (Fat Tony Salerno from Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman) also stars alongside Michael Carmen Pitt, who is known for the acclaimed NC-17 movie 2003’s The Dreamers and another Netflix exclusive from 2020 called The Last Days of American Crime.
The Trailer Teases A Chilling Slice Of Neo-Noir
We have already teased what sort of gloomy and disturbing subject matter there is to expect from Reptile throughout this guide so far. However, nothing we can say can prepare you forwhat a “nightmare” this story will prove to be for Del Toro and co. than by watching the official trailer. Check out the clip for yourself below:
Opening a movie trailer for a crime drama with your protagonist in a therapy session accompanied by an ominous score is a pretty good indication that things are not going well. That only becomes more clear when the music switches to Juice Newton’s “Angel in the Morning,” providing an intriguing juxtaposition to the ensuing montage of grief, increasingly disturbing imagery related to the central murder investigation, and a glimpse at the suspect list – which includes a certain character of unsettling an air played by Pitt. Overall, the teaser does its job painting a picture of the kind of haunting detective story Reptile seems to be.
A Murder Investigation Becomes An Introspective Journey For A Veteran Detective
As detailed in Netflix’s aforementioned Tudum blog post, the story of Reptile follows veteran cop as he struggles to solve the brutal murder of a young real estate agent in New England. As he sifts through the disturbing clues, brings up all the usual suspects for questioning – including the victim’s current lover, her former husband, and a few other interesting stand-outs – it unexpectedly begins to bring enlightening, conspiratorial evidence regarding his community to his attention.
Yet, what is even more concerning to Nichols is the way the investigation seems to be blockaded by memories of his own dark past. Del Toro reflected on this to Tudum by describing his role as “a man who gets a second chance, but then something happens and a reckoning occurs.” Will our unlikely hero be able to overcome his past, see through the lines of corruption blinding him to the answers he needs, and bring the culprit of this nightmarish homicide case to justice?
Directorial Debut Of Grant Singer
As mentioned in a preview story by GQ, Reptile is the first feature-length drama helmed by Grant Singer, who actually did make his official feature-length debut as the director of the Netflix original music documentary Shawn Mendes: In Wonder in 2020. Music is a recurring element of his entire filmography so far, as he is best known for directing videos for the likes of The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, and the aforementioned Reptile cast member Sky Ferreira. However, it was this crime drama would make his first collaboration with Timberlake.
Singer also penned the screenplay along with a couple of co-writers: fellow music video director Benjamin Brewer, who also worked on the visual effects for Best Picture Oscar winner Everything Everywhere All At Once. Benicio del Toro recalled having a lot of fun with the collaboration to Tudum, adding how they discussed ways to make the narrative more interesting and more realistic by doing extensive research and pulling from other iconic crime stories such as Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.
The question that remains on my mind is what the true meaning behind the title is. Does Reptile refer to the cold-blooded nature of the case? Is it a way of describing the mysterious culprit as an elusive snake? Or is it meant to represent Nichols’ ability (or even inability) to shed his own skin and move on from his past? Hopefully, all will be revealed when the R-rated thriller becomes available to stream on Netflix this fall.