New Netflix movie Reptile gives me serious True Detective vibes

Benicio del Toro in Reptile
(Image credit: Netflix)

While looking at what’s coming to Netflix this fall, I came across a movie that is getting its international premiere today (Sept. 7) — Reptile. And after watching the official trailer, I can safely say that I’m officially sold on this upcoming Netflix movie.

In no small part, that’s due to the fact that Benicio Del Toro stars as Detective Tom Nichols and he feels completely natural in the role. I have no trouble viewing him as a veteran detective troubled by a brutal murder that is, in his words “a real nightmare.”

And from the start of the trailer, you can immediately tell that not everything is as it seems in Reptile. The ominous score is reminiscent of a horror film and already sets you on pins and needles. We’re clearly deep into the case at this point and Nichols is seemingly unnerved by how it's developed.

It's clear that Reptile will go far deeper than just solving a brutal murder. Secrets will be uncovered, lives upended and unraveled.

But then at the 30-second mark, the score takes a turn, more reminiscent of a prestige TV drama. "Angel of the Morning" by Juice Newton haunts the remainder of the two-minute and 40-second trailer and I’m immediately reminded of True Detective season 1 and, to a certain extent, Justified and its recent sequel Justified City Primeval.

It's clear that Reptile will go far deeper than just solving a brutal murder. Secrets will be uncovered, lives upended and unraveled. What seems like it could be just another case will clearly be far from it. But the exploration of the movie's characters seems as essential to what makes Reptile compelling as the movie’s plot, and that has always been the hallmark of prestige TV dramas. 

In fact, after watching the trailer, it’s not difficult to envision Reptile as a six or eight-episode miniseries a la True Detective season 1 or Justified City Primeval. That being said, I certainly don’t fault director Grant Singer for choosing this story for his feature film debut and I can’t wait to see it once it hits Netflix on October 6, 2023

Reptile: Who is starring in Netflix’s latest crime drama? 

In Reptile, Del Toro stars as Detective Nichols and he’s joined by Ato Essandoh as his partner, Detective Dan Cleary. It’s also clear that his wife Judy, played by Alicia Silverstone, will serve as his partner as much as Cleary, if not more, over the course of the film.

Rounding out the law enforcement investigating the brutal murder at the center of Reptile are Mike Pniewski as Chief Marty Graeber and Eric Bogosian as Captain Robert Allen, who is Nichols' boss.

While the police may be played by largely unknown actors — aside from Del Toro, the biggest name is Bogosian, who previously starred in Uncut Gems — the suspects have a bit more star power. 

The prime suspect is Will Grady, the victim's boyfriend played by Justin Timberlake, but there are a few others. Sky Ferreira plays Renee, the victim's best friend; Karl Glusman is Sam Gifford, the victim's ex-husband; and Michael Pitt appears as Eli Phillips, a suspect that Timberlake’s Grady accuses of creepily appearing at his house prior to the murder of his girlfriend. Each member of the team investigating the murder has a different bet (literally) on which one is the murderer and after watching the trailer, it could be any of them.

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Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.