Scarlett Johansson makes the leap to full-fledged action-movie star in this week's Lucy. It's the first time the actress has enjoyed top billing in an action thriller, although she's certainly demonstrated her ability to kick butt as Natasha Romanoff (aka Black Widow) in Iron Man 2, The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In Lucy, she is forced to be a drug mule, and then turns the tables when the experimental drugs she's accidentally ingested transform her into a superpowered heroine.
As Lucy, Johansson is scary and ruthless, which reflects a side of her screen personality that we also saw in Under the Skin, which hit home video last week. In that movie, Johansson plays an alien who comes to Earth and seduces men so she can learn more about the human race. Our friends over at Movies.com described it thusly: "It's not strictly a horror movie, but some of the scenes and imagery here are more bone chilling and unforgettable than anything I've seen in a strict horror movie so far in 2014."
For the most part, Johansson has steered away from strict horror movies in her career so far, but she has demonstrated her affinity for scary roles in the past, which suggests what she could do in the future.
Eight Legged Freaks (2002)
In this comic-horror romp, Johansson narrowly avoids being captured by a giant spider. Later in the movie, she gets to fight back, in most convincing fashion.
The Spirit (2008)
As Silken Floss, accomplice to the notorious villain known as the Octopus, Johansson is casual in her cruelty and thinks nothing about running over a henchman with a large truck. Sure, she's playing the scene for laughs, but the actress also nails the ice-cold nature of her character's personality.
Taking on the challenge of playing Janet Leigh during the filming of Psycho, Johansson is the embodiment of sweetness and sincerity, which actually makes the on-screen horror even more frightening to contemplate. How could such a lovely lady have uttered such terrifying screams? In a supporting role, Johansson shows her capacity for communicating true fear.