Danny McBride has perfected the endearing asshole character. We enjoy seeing Kenny Powers or Danny McBride (as himself) be unapologetic. In Arizona, he takes it to the next level and actually kills people.
In 2009, the housing crisis hits Arizona hard. Sonny (McBride) confronts his realtor and accidentally kills him. Another realtor, Cassie (Rosemarie DeWitt) witnesses it so Sonny kidnaps her to try to figure out a plan. The hostage crisis escalates until Sonny has killed far too many people to stop now.
Sonny is more sympathetic than the usual McBride character because he’s like so many of us. He believed realtors’ lies about values doubling and taking an adjustable rate, and then they blame us for taking their deal. But he’s still an idiot like the other McBride characters so he makes his own situation worse, and in this scenario deadlier.
The abandoned housing development is a really stark setting for a horror movie. There’s no one to call for help. There isn’t even police because they never developed the infrastructure before the collapse. So Cassie is truly on her own with Sonny.
The deaths escalate in bloody extravagance, then get Coen Brothersy with accidental shootings, whittling down the already sparse supporting cast. Honestly, as far as Sundance midnight movies go, or horror in general, Arizona is relatively tame. It’s as violent as an R-rated studio movie used to be though. The grossest thing is actually a dog playing in the blood. If dog violence is an issue for you, then you should consider this a warning as it gets worse.
DeWitt is a great final girl, with a badass strut by the end. McBride has no trouble taking his persona to truly dark places. He takes an almost Ash-like beating but by the end, you’ll be rooting for Sonny to go down.