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Outlaws and Angels: Chad Michael Murray menaces a frontier family

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Chad Michael Murray dons the black hat — or perhaps it’s just a very dark shade of gray — in the gritty western thriller Outlaws and Angels.

Written and directed by JT Mollner, the film stars Murray as the leader of a gang of bank robbers whose latest heist goes fatally awry, prompting them to invade the home of a seemingly decent frontier family to hide out. Over the course of one grim night, Murray’s outlaw emerges as something more complicated than a cold-blooded killer, while the family is revealed to have its share of skeletons in the closet.

In an interview with EW, Murray said he relished the opportunity to explore a character “who’s really been through the wringer — shot multiple times, cut across the face, all sorts of different things. It takes a particular man to live that. Someone who’s very calculated, someone who’s very focused, very wolf-like.”

He added, “I really wanted to tell the story about how a man like this, in the end, knew that he wasn’t going to be saved but still was seeking redemption for all the deeds he had done.”

For audiences most familiar with Murray from his role as a brooding basketball star on the teen drama One Tree Hill, his turn in Outlaws and Angels promises to show a different, darker side — and that’s just fine by him.

“I want to do things that challenge me and scare the crap out of me,” Murray said. “I really do.”

Outlaws and Angels hits theaters and VOD on Friday. Watch an exclusive clip above.