Considering the very real scares of 2020, it feels almost cathartic to be terrified by a horror movie like "Spell."
The film, out Friday, stars Omari Hardwick as a high-powered lawyer stranded in backwoods Appalachia and Loretta Devine as the deceptively quaint old lady who holds him hostage.
Wait, what? Devine is the villain? Hardwick understands the confusion, but he says the legendary actress from "Waiting to Exhale" and "Grey's Anatomy" enjoyed a switch from playing relatable, empathetic women.
"She had a ball, because, you know what? It's fun to play bad."
That's Hardwick talking about his co-star, but he could be talking about himself.
In February, the handsome leading man wrapped a six-season run as an impressively complex bad guy, Ghost, a drug kingpin who is known in the legitimate business world is nightclub owner James St. Patrick, in the hit Starz series "Power."
In "Spell," Hardwick is Marquis, a successful attorney who's still coming to terms with his humble beginnings and abusive father. When he finds out his dad has died, Marquis decides to pilot his personal small plane to the funeral, accompanied by his wife and two teenage children.
A sudden storm causes the plan to crash. When Marquis awakens, he finds himself alone, battered and bruised in the attic of Devine's Ms. Eloise. She insists on nursing him back to health, arguing there is no hospital nearby. But her medicines consist of magic powders and a doll resembling him that she uses for her own evil purposes.
Although Hardwick wasn't sure about tackling the horror genre, he thought about his love for classics like "The Shining" and "Silence of the Lambs" with its performance by Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter.
"When I read this script and when (director) Mark Tonderai spoke to me, I absolutely felt there was this psychological component," he recalls.