Best Coast Bleakness: Five L.A. Neo-Noirs to Watch Right Now

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The film noir era may have officially ended sometime in the 1950s, but its striped shadow extends to today. After his commercially successful spin on the horror genre It Follows (2014), David Robert Mitchell’s new film Under the Silver Lake revisits and updates the tropes of film noir, focusing on an addled antihero investigating a dangerous mystery for the sake of a woman’s beautiful eyes in the City of Angels. Mitchell’s take is attuned to our digital and post-postmodern times and strikes a strange tone between comedy, discomfort, and millennial paranoia—but his is not the first film to employ and twist the codes of the genre to generate chills, laughs, and reflections on cinema itself. Here are five neo-noirs set in L.A. that have doubled down on key aspects of the genre and paved the way for Mitchell’s ambitious new film.

Manuela Lazicringer, essay