Genre : Thriller; Horror
Director : Richard Shepard
Platform : Netflix
Over the years I have watched many thriller movies, but this movie is so different. While the horror part gave me a headache(which is a positive sign), the other tropes from psychological to slasher are my favourite. The editing, screenplay, acting and the cellos(which have a significant role) blends well.
Not much should be said about the story to avoid spoiling it. However, this is a little snippet from the plot: Charlotte, a musical prodigy has to withdraw herself from music after her mother goes ill. After years, she gets in touch with her music teacher. But on the way, she also meets a popular cellist Lizzie, who was also taught by the same teacher. Charlotte befriends Lizzie and they both indulge in something sinister.
The first half of the movie is where you try to figure out what’s actually happening because even from the trailer or other references the plot seems ambiguous. This ambiguity becomes a plus point for the script writer to bring in something unknown which shakes us to the core. Even Lizzie in a scene screams, “What’s happening ?”, which we can relate to. At midpoint the things get so weird that it horrifies you. From there, there is no turning back, you get back to back twists which keep you at the edge of the seat, but at the same time makes you uncomfortable and horrified.
In the initial scene, we see Charlotte sitting in the chair emotionless. The scene is cut and we see younger Charlotte screaming. This whole scenario wonderfully sets the pace for the movie and by that instant you know the movie will offer a different and interesting way of storytelling, which it exceptionally does.
One of the best attributes of this movie is that it doesn’t stick to a particular genre. It continuously alters between psychological, horror and thriller tropes which in turn makes us more susceptible towards a scare. You are made to feel as if you know everything. We are constantly made to judge the characters and we even feel we see the plot-twist coming. However, all your predictions go wrong in the end.
The soundtrack of the movie is largely filled with that of cello compositions. These cellos have obviously a major part in the movie as you can see the protagonists playing it. But these cellos are also used as a tool to intensify the thrill for you. In a particular scene in the beginning when you are trying to figure out what is the problem with the protagonists or why basically this movie is a thriller and not drama, the cello composition helps the screenplay in intensifying the scenes. The cellos are also responsible for bringing in some glamour to the screenplay.
Charlotte played by Allison Williams, who you may also know from the movie ‘Get Out’, subtly portrays the anxiety or any emotion her character is facing. On contrary, Lizzie played by Logan Browning is more expressive. She shouts, screams and laughs but it never feels she is doing it over-the-top. Instead whenever she screams in the movie, it feels genuine and it makes your heart beat faster. Thus, the protagonists have contrary natures which doesn’t make the screenplay monotonous.
The movie isn’t just made up of the thrills and horror, in fact what provides it a cohesion and binds the complex plot is its message. Not much can be discussed about the message without giving out the spoilers but throughout the movie we constantly are thrown up with questions like ‘What actually is perfection and do we need to suffer in order to reach it? What kind of sacrifices we need to make in order to reach that? Does some events/actions cross the line between sacrifices? What if your god-gift is taken away from you? The Perfection provides us with a satisfying, inspirational yet horrific end to the story.
An Indian reviewer who writes about horror and thriller movies/series. If not movies, he likes to pick up a mystery book to read. Some of his favourite movies/series include Stranger Things, Elite (S1-3), Train to Busan, Andhadhun, Strangers: Prey at Night.