Serial killer movies are yesterday’s news, sullied by two decades of repetition. Yet at their best, especially in filmic expression, this sub-genre can encapsulate the ancient good-versus-evil storyline like no other. “The Little Things, ” written and directed by John Lee Hancock, is a return to the classic form of the serial killer hunt: a flawed policeman riven by obsession hunts a almost supernaturally talented killer. Denzel Washington is in superb form as Joe Deacon, a rural cop once an LA homicide detective star, enlisted by an upstart La detective (played quirkily but convincingly by Rami Malek) to stop a run of killings of women. The movie’s atmospherics are brilliant, evoking the seedy side of Los Angeles, and the interplay between the two policemen is haunting. When a lumbering drifter (played with malevolent force by Jared Leto) comes into the frame, the film shifts from pursuit to cat-and-mouse. Brooding and intense, possessed with barely contained emotions of rage and yearning, the film builds up to a series of climactic scenes that might disappoint some thriller aficionados, but which struck me as clever and apt. I was held in thrall for the 128 minutes of The Little Things, childishly lifted up by a return to a sub-genre that informed my middle years. Recommended.