A drifter sends a small town to hell

By Nick Romano
October 14, 2017 at 03:34 PM EDT

Jon Bernthal‘s imposing presence is serving him well as he goes from a bank robber in Baby Driver to the gunslinging executioner in The Punisher to now a tormented soul in the Sweet Virginia trailer, the first from this gritty piece of pulp fiction.

In this story, based on Ben and Paul China’s Black List script, Bernthal’s Sam is running a motel in a small town when he meets a mysterious drifter, Elwood, played by Girls actor Christopher Abbott. The two men strike a friendship, but Sam doesn’t know Elwood is a hitman responsible for a local massacre. Eventually, the truth reveals itself, bringing Sam’s inner demons out with it.

The trailer, also featuring Imogen Poots and Rosemarie DeWitt, highlights some of the early reviews from critics, who called Sweet Virginia “a dark and densely packed chunk of pulp fiction” and “one of the year’s best thrillers.”

“This film is my heart,” Bernthal tweeted when the preview hit the web.

In addition to Bernthal’s transition from the Walking Dead universe to the Marvel universe, Abbott has gained notoriety through performances in A Most Violent Year, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, It Comes at Night, and the USA miniseries The Sinner.

Sweet Virginia, directed by Jamie M. Dagg, will drop in theaters and on VOD this Nov. 17. Watch the trailer above.