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5 great Bill Skarsgård movies you should check out

Bill Skarsgård as Mickey smiling at someone off-camera in Villains.
Image via Gunpowder & Sky

Bill Skarsgård is more than just a very handsome face. In fact, he is among his generation’s most interesting and arresting performers,  a modern scream king known for his tendency toward playing intriguing and elusive characters in intense and often dark films. This year, Skarsgård is set to dominate with three high-profile releases — Boy Kills World this AprilThe Crow in August, and Robert Eggers’ highly awaited horror film Nosferatu in December.

If the wait is too unbearable for you and you want to see more of the talented actor’s work, I suggest you check out the 2022 miniseries Clark, one of Netflix’s best miniseries, featuring Skarsgård’s best and most charming performance to date. However, if you’re more into movies, then be sure to check out these five films where Skarsgård showcases his mesmerizing talent and versatility.

5. It (2017)

Bill Skarsgård as the monstrous clown Pennywise in "It."
Warner Bros. Pictures / Warner Bros. Pictures

Most people who hear the name “Bill Skarsgård” will probably instantly think of Andy Muschietti’s It duology. The actor stars as the iconic cinematic villain Pennywise, the Dancing Clown, in Muschietti’s horror movies about a shape-shifting and evil creature haunting the children of the forgotten town of Derry in Mayne.

Buried under layers of mak-up, sporting menacing, enlarged teeth and a prominent head, Skarsgård is utterly unrecognizable as the evil clown. The role was first popularized by the legendary Tim Curry, but Skarsgård makes it his own, delivering arguably the ultimate version of Pennywise, the best and most interesting creature in Stephen King’s roster. The first It movie is by far the best, featuring Skarsgård at his most menacing and mesmerizing and providing more than a few chills for fans of blood-curdling horror.

It is available to rent or purchase on Amazon and other digital vendors.

4. Nine Days (2020)

Bill Skarsgård as Kane looking intently at something off-camera in Nine Days.
Image via Sony Pictures Classics

Edson Oda’s 2022 fantasy drama Nine Days is a severely underrated film that is as profound as it’s devastating. Winston Duke stars as Will, a reclusive man living in a house in preexistence, whose job is to interview souls who long to be born on Earth and supervise their progress once they arrive. When one of his previous selections dies, Will has a crisis of faith just as a new batch of interviewees arrives, including Skarsgård’s Kane.

Few films are as emotionally resonant, shattering, or strangely life-affirming as Nine Days. The film asks big questions about the nature and purpose of human life and the seeming emptiness of it all. The entire cast is outstanding, especially Duke and Zazie Beetz, while Skarsgård delivers a quiet and internalized performance as the cynical Kane. Nine Days isn’t an easy film; it can get quite philosophical, and its ending is particularly devastating. However, its hefty, thought-provoking themes and stellar cast are more than worth the tears.

Nine Days is available to rent or purchase on Amazon and other digital vendors.

3. Barbarian (2022)

Bill Skarsgård as Keith looking at something off-camera in Barbarian.
Image via 20th Century Studios

Few horror films in recent memory have had such an effective marketing campaign as Zach Cregger’s Barbarian. Georgina Campbell stars as Tess, a woman who arrives at her Airbnb to discover it’s been double-booked and another man, Keith (Skarsgård), is already there. As Tess reluctantly accepts his invitation to share the booking, she begins to suspect not all is as it seems.

Barbarian makes excellent use of the audience’s idea of who Keith is, and the actor gives a subtly unnerving performance that makes us second-guess his every move. Alas, it’s a perfect misdirection, and Skarsgård is free to play what is possibly his most endearing character so far. Ironically, if there’s a film that proves Skarsgård is a rom-com lead trapped in the body of a scream king, it’s Barbarian. Arguably the best in the rising trend of Airbnb horror movies, Barbarian is a genuinely shocking and unforgettable nightmare that will take viewers by surprise.

Barbarian is available to rent or purchase on Apple and other digital vendors.

John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)

Bill Skarsgård in John Wick: Chapter 4.

From one of Skarsgård’s sweetest performances, we move to one of his most disturbing. The actor is the perfect antagonist for Chad Stahelski and Keanu Reeves’ hyper-violent, hyper-stylized, nonstop action extravaganza John Wick: Chapter 4. The film cats Skarsgård as the Marquis Vincent de Gramont, who is elevated into a key position on The High Table and given unlimited resources on the condition he finally kills John Wick.

Like its predecessors, John Wick: Chapter 4 is an explosion of action and sheer flair, featuring one jaw-dropping set piece after another. Skarsgård is at his scene-stealing best, chewing scenery left and right, draped in some of the finest suits and using a suitably over-the-top accent that is convincing enough and just the right amount of silly. Skarsgård is basically playing a Bond villain here, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. One of the best action movies of the 21st century, John Wick: Chapter 4 is a visual overdose, an action movie in overdrive and a satisfying ending to what is arguably the defining action franchise of the 2010s and 2020s.

John Wick: Chapter 4 is available to stream on Starz.

Villains (2019)

Maika Monroe and Bill Skarsgård as Jules and Mickey in the film Villains.
Image via Gunpowder & Sky

Skarsgård is at his funniest and most charming in the underrated horror comedy Villains. Co-starring scream queen Maika Monroe (Longlegs), Villains sees the pair playing inept thieves and lovebirds Mickey and Jules, who seek refuge in a large manor after clumsily robbing a store. However, they soon realize the house is far more dangerous than they anticipated.

A love story posing as a horror comedy, Villains is a delightful romance elevated by Skarsgård and Monroe’s earnest and endearing chemistry. Villains allows Skarsgård to adopt a more relaxed approach, and the actor gets to flex his considerable comedic muscles; he is funny and ridiculously appealing, once again proving he is not just a scream king, but a bona fide leading man. Small-scale, but refreshingly fast-paced and delightfully twisted, Villains is a wonderful horror-comedy thriller hybrid and one of the strongest entries in Skarsgård’s blossoming filmography.

Villains is available to stream on Tubi.

Editors' Recommendations

David Caballero
David is a Mexican freelance writer with a deep appreciation for words. After three years in the cold world of Marketing…
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