Movie review of “Blackway”: Julia Stiles plays a woman being terrorized by Blackway (Ray Liotta), in this lackluster thriller. Rating: 1.5 stars out of 4.

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Blackway (Ray Liotta) is, it seems, the nastiest man in the world. Not only does he assault women, terrorize children and generally behave like a flannel-shirted psychopath, he also beheads cats. “Blackway,” the grim thriller which bears his name, actually shows us that cat, in its early scenes. Having watched the entire film, I can now say that it’s caused me to come up with a new Rule of Movie Watching: namely, that it’s OK to call it quits after the headless cat.

Should you decide to watch all of “Blackway,” a decision I cannot endorse, you’ll get to know Lillian (Julia Stiles), a determined if rather personality-free woman who’s moved back to the small Oregon logging town where she grew up. Finding herself being stalked by Blackway, with local law enforcement disinclined to do anything about it (the sheriff’s scared of him too), she recruits a retired logger (Anthony Hopkins, slumming valiantly) and his younger friend (Alexander Ludwig) to help her, um, “make him stop bothering me.”

This all goes about as well as you can imagine, and we spend most of the movie following this intrepid trio as they look for Blackway in various sordid nooks and crannies of their town and surrounding forest. People keep suggesting to Lillian that she just move away and never come back, which seems like a fine idea. If only Blackway — and “Blackway” — would do the same.

Movie Review ★½  

‘Blackway,’ with Julia Stiles, Anthony Hopkins, Ray Liotta, Alexander Ludwig, Hal Holbrook. Directed by Daniel Alfredson, from a screenplay by Joe Gangemi and Gregory Jacobs, based on the novel “Go With Me” by Castle Freeman Jr. 90 minutes. Rated R for violence, menace, language and brief nudity. Sundance Cinemas (21+).