10 of the best films to watch in April

(Image credit: Amazon MGM)

Still from Challengers (Credit: Amazon MGM)

Including Alex Garland’s Civil War, an Omen prequel and a wordless Sasquatch comedy starring Jesse Eisenberg and Riley Keough – this month’s unmissable movies to watch and stream.

(Credit: Universal Pictures)

(Credit: Universal Pictures)

1. Abigail

It’s Reservoir Dogs v M3gan in the gory new horror comedy from Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, the directors of the terrific Ready or Not and the last two films in the Scream franchise. Alisha Weir from Matilda the Musical stars as the eponymous Abigail, the 12-year-old daughter of a multimillionaire. Dan Stevens, Melissa Barrera and Kathryn Newton play some of the criminals who are paid to kidnap her, and then to babysit her in a remote mansion. Little do they know that Abigail might not be a 12-year-old girl, after all – she might be a vampire. “All of our movies are bloody,” the directors said in Total Film magazine. “[But] I would say that this is definitely the most bloody. We spent a lot of time apologising to our actors on this movie! I mean, blood is in the DNA of a vampire movie, and the amount of blood work in this one is pretty extreme! But it’s still fun.”

On general release from 19 April

(Credit: Metropolitan Filmexport)

(Credit: Metropolitan Filmexport)

2. Coup de Chance

Woody Allen has written and directed more than 50 films, but Coup de Chance is the first of them that isn’t in English. Set in scenic Paris, his French-language comedy thriller stars Lou de Laâge as Fanny, a fine-art dealer, Melvil Poupaud as Jean, her wealthy husband, and Niels Schneider as Alain, a bohemian author who had a crush on her at school. When Fanny and Alain drift into an affair, she wonders whether she can start a new life with him. But she may have underestimated how far Jean will go to keep their marriage intact. Coup de Chance “is not a major reinvention, but it does have more spirit and joie de vivre than anything Allen has done in a while,” says Jonathan Romney in Screen International. “A sharp, lively cast shows that he is actually rather good at directing in French, and the stars seem accordingly to be having a good time in this light comedy that takes an unexpectedly dark turn. Allen very much knows what he’s doing.”

Released on 5 April in the US and 11 April in Germany

(Credit: Bleecker Street)

(Credit: Bleecker Street)

3. Sasquatch Sunset

Usually, anyone acting in a comedy will have to learn pages of intricate dialogue – but not in this case. Written and directed by David and Nathan Zellner, Sasquatch Sunset is a wordless film about a family of Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) wandering through the wilderness on a quest to find others of their kind. These ape-like creatures are played by Jesse Eisenberg and Riley Keough, along with Nathan Zellner and Christophe Zajac-Denek, but you might not recognise them, considering that they have prosthetic make-up and furry suits, and their lines consist of grunts and howls. “It is unabashedly a gross-out comedy,” says Kristy Puchko at Mashable, “urging audiences to laugh over the goopy muck of sex, death, and childbirth. Yet just underneath this sticky surface, there’s an ardent sadness, warning of the ravages mankind brings with our conquering and carelessness… Sasquatch Sunset is a daringly ambitious and fascinatingly audacious family drama that’s sure to cause giggles, gasps and gagging.”

Released on 19 April in the US

(Credit: Universal Pictures)

(Credit: Universal Pictures)

4. Monkey Man

Dev Patel proved himself as an actor in Slumdog Millionaire, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Lion and The Green Knight. Now he is establishing himself as an action hero, director, producer and co-writer, too. Co-produced by Jordan Peele (Get Out), Monkey Man is a dark thriller starring Patel as an orphan who works in an underground fight club in a fictional Indian city, and who plans to take revenge on the gangsters who killed his family. “There’s a profound sense of cultural identity and personality that pervades every facet of this brutal brawler,” says Meagan Navarro at Bloody Disgusting, “one that never forgets that character work and story are just as important to ensure the action has an impact… Patel’s assured, audacious vision delivers an epic crowd-pleaser of mythic proportions.” If Monkey Man leaves you with an appetite for more ultra-violent vengeance, don’t miss Boy Kills World (released on 26 April) starring Bill Skarsgård. Incidentally, Sharlto Copley is in both films.

Released on 5 April in the US, Canada, the UK and India

(Credit: A24)

(Credit: A24)

5. Civil War

Civil War is bound to be one of the year’s most divisive films. Written and directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Men), this political thriller is set in a dystopian near-future in which the United States aren’t united any more. California and Texas have seceded from the rest of the country, and now call themselves the Western Alliance. Battling to make sense of the turmoil, a band of journalists (Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura and Cailee Spaeny) are on their way to Washington DC to interview the president (Nick Offerman). But will they reach him before the rebels do? “Civil War is a furiously convincing and disturbing thing,” says Matt Zoller Seitz at RogerEbert.com. “It’s a great movie that has its own life force. It’s not like anything Garland has made. It’s not like anything anyone has made.”

Released on 12 April in the UK, the US and Canada

(Credit: Lionsgate)

(Credit: Lionsgate)

6. The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare

There’s still no sign of a new James Bond film being made, but the creator of James Bond, Ian Fleming, turns up in Guy Ritchie’s The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare. As played by Freddie Fox, Fleming is an intelligence officer who helps Winston Churchill set up a special forces unit during World War Two. The film is adapted from a non-fiction book, Churchill’s Secret Warriors: The Explosive True Story of the Special Forces Desperadoes of WWII by Damien Lewis, although the trailer suggests that Ritchie’s typically over-the-top romp would make the average Bond film seem like a documentary. Henry “Superman” Cavill, Alan “Reacher” Ritchson, Eiza González, Henry Golding and Alex Pettyfer play some of the ungentlemanly warriors.

Released on 19 April in the US, Canada and Australia

(Credit: 20th Century Studios)

(Credit: 20th Century Studios)

7. The First Omen

In Richard Donner’s The Omen (1976), the Antichrist is stalking the streets of London – but he is still a small boy who has yet to access his full diabolical power. Several sequels and a long gap later, it’s time for a prequel that explores why some Catholic grandees are scheming to bring the Antichrist to Earth. Bill Nighy and Ralph Ineson play priests involved in the Satanic conspiracy in Rome, and Nell Tiger Free plays a US nun who stumbles on the truth. “Let’s call a spade a spade here: the bar for these kinds of prequels and sequels and remakes, especially with these iconic horror franchises, is not particularly high,” Free said in SFX magazine. “I think expectations might be low. It will be satisfying to show what we’ve made because I don’t think that it’s what people are going to be expecting, whatsoever.”

On general release from 5 April

(Credit: Amazon MGM)

(Credit: Amazon MGM)

8. Challengers

Luca Guadagnino, the director of Call Me by Your Name and Bones and All, specialises in sensual dramas about intense and not always healthy relationships. His latest is Challengers, a black comedy set in the world of professional tennis, where, as the old joke goes, love means nothing. Zendaya stars as Tashi, a former champion who now coaches her husband, Art (Mike Faist). Determined to put an end to his losing streak, Tashi signs Art up for a tournament that will pit him against Patrick (Josh O’Connor), his former best friend and her former boyfriend. The trailer promises steamy scenes between all three of the main actors, but the really erotic stuff, according to O’Connor, is the tennis. “The tennis is the sex,” he told Empire magazine. “Those moments are so sexy. The film is dealing with the tension before and after. The sex they’re all desperate for is on the court.” 

On general release from 26 April

(Credit: Magnolia Pictures)

(Credit: Magnolia Pictures)

9. The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed

With a score of 100 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed is a deadpan indie comedy from Joanna Arnow, who writes, directs and edits, as well as playing the lead role. Inspired by Arnow’s own experiences, the film is a portrait of Ann, a neurotic thirtysomething who is drifting through life in New York. She is stuck in a dispiriting office job, and her most significant long-term relationship is a sex-only arrangement with an older man (Scott Cohen) she barely knows. Could things change when she goes on a date with a laidback musician (Babak Tafti)? “Arnow’s script captures the anxieties and banalities of millennial life with an uncanny precision,” says Hannah Strong in Little White Lies. “It’s a confident, sweet and deeply funny feature debut that gives a sharp sense of Arnow’s personality and vision, and announces her as a bright new spark in the American indie landscape.”

Released on 26 April in the US

(Credit: Apple TV)

(Credit: Apple TV)

10. Girls State

Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss’s Emmy-winning documentary, Boys State, chronicled one of the annual week-long get-togethers in which 1,000 American teenage boys have the experience of forming a mock government, with all the debating and campaigning that entails. The duo’s follow-up examines an equivalent camp for girls, a Girls State that was held in Missouri in 2022 at the same time as an adjacent but separate Boys State. We are shown the friendships being formed, and the issues being thrashed out. But the participants, and the filmmakers, also note that the programme itself is dripping with sexism: the girls are subjected to different dress codes and offered different activities from the boys. “Moss and McBaine embed with several participants across the political spectrum, with various pains and ambitions, to fascinating effect,” says Adrian Horton in The Guardian. “The film’s chief enjoyment is seeing how motivations transform, and character is forged… and the sharpening of the young women’s disparate judgments on the genuinely disappointing differences between Boys and Girls State.”

Released on 5 April on Apple TV+

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