M.L. Miller here! Because you and I love the horror so much, I’ve decided to post a “Worth Noting” pick along with each of my Horror Countdown choices each day through October. The same rules apply. The film must have been released before September 30th, 2019 to the masses (no festival picks). This means that is available to view in theaters, On Demand, DVD/BluRay, or digital download. I’ve tried to indicate in the reviews how you can watch and enjoy these films.
How did I compile this list? Horror is such a broad and varied genre that sometimes, while these choices may not represent the best—something about the film is worth taking notice. Some of these films have similar themes to their counterparts in the main countdown. Some just missed the countdown by an inch or two. Others were just squozed in because there’s nothing like them out there. Others because they have been made available for the first time. One way or another, it’s more horror to enjoy!
I hope you’ll join me daily and don’t forget to like and share my picks with your pals across the web. Chime in after the review and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, or most importantly, come up with your own darn list…let’s go!
Worth Noting – THE PERFECTION!
THE PERFECTION is an imperfect film, but one I enjoyed for the sheer grand guignol aspects of it. It seems to try to top itself every fifteen minutes with a new twist, turn, or gory sequence, and I can admire that, even though I feel it kind of stabbed itself in the balls by the end of it all. Released on May 24, 2019, here’s my review of THE PERFECTION! Available on Netflix!
THE PERFECTION (2018)
Directed by Richard Shepard
Written by Eric C. Charmelo, Richard Shepard, Nicole Snyder
Starring Allison Williams, Logan Browning, Alaina Huffman, Steven Weber, Molly Grace, Glynis Davies, Winnie Hung, Christina Jastrzembska, Graeme Duffy, Milah Thompson, Mark Kandborg
I don’t want to reveal too much about this film because it is filled with twists and surprises all the way through. Or at least that’s what this film wants people to believe. And even though the term “plot twist” may mean something a bit different to me as it does to these filmmakers, I still think this film goes one plot twist too far simply for the sake of being plot twisty. Mixing elements from BLACK SWAN, HOSTEL, MARTYRS, and the best of Cronenberg’s body horror, THE PERFECTION manages to be entertaining, chilling at times, and surprisingly gory as long as you don’t think too much about the way the story is constructed.
When her aunt dies, former cellist prodigy Charlotte (Allison Williams) is invited by her former instructor Anton (Steven Weber) to view his latest find Lizzie (Logan Browning). Charlotte and Lizzie immediately bond due to mutual adoration and understanding of what it is like to dedicate one’s entire life to the mastery of one’s craft. Having a few days of vacation coming up, Lizzie invites Charlotte to join her. Revealing anything else would be a detriment to what this film has to offer, but it is a film best left to be experienced rather than spoiled. Go in knowing as little as possible and this film will have the intended effect.
The nineties sort of killed the trust had between viewer and filmmaker. Movies like PULP FICTION subverted expectations of how a movie should play out (though it wasn’t the first, it was a trendsetter). Films like BLAIR WITCH PROJECT made us doubt the marketing and truth behind the films. And M. Night Shyamalan made a career of injecting a clever twist at the end of the story (a habit that ended up being a bit too trite to build a sustainable career on). It was during this decade more than any that people began looking at films with a shrewder eye, trying to catch the twist or the gimmick before it is revealed. The films that were considered successful at this twist thing were the ones that had the answer provided to them all along. You were just so caught up in the performances that you just missed them and ended up being blown away by the end.
Though THE PERFECTION has quite a few twists in it, they are plot twists in name only as it simply omits information and then rewinds and reveals the info later. A good mystery has all of the clues in the first act. The trick is being clever and entertaining enough to fool the audience into not seeing them. When that information is omitted, it’s not a mystery—it’s simply something not to be trusted. And THE PERFECTION is a movie not to be trusted. It cheats by omitting entire scenes only to reveal them later to make the scene playing out more poignant or to amplify the shockeroo that comes out of nowhere…because it literally comes out of nowhere. And even if it constructed these shockeroo scenes decently, that trick is used a few times too many by the time THE PERFECTION is done. At the end point, you’re so “shocked-out” that the give-a-fig well has run dry.
What is frustrating is that THE PERFECTION doesn’t need to rely on such cheap trickery. The cast is great. GET OUT’s Allison Williams is equally charming, likable, and dangerous at the appropriate times. Logan Browning is a fantastic newcomer who is able to incite sympathy and admiration all at once. Steven Webber is, as always, unnerving and poised. The way he exemplifies the pomposity and vapidity of the artistic elite is spot on. Everyone delivers a layered performance taking each character through transformations that leave them at the end completely changed from the characters we meet at the beginning. All good stuff.
More good stuff occurs in the effects department, mixing some fantastic CG work with some even more impressively splashy practical carnage. And the stuff suggested is even more harrowing. While this definitely falls into the category of body horror, it isn’t the type of terror you would expect—especially in a Netflix film.
THE PERFECTION is not a bad movie. It’s actually extremely well done and it’s a film I quite enjoyed. But I think the filmmakers think it’s a bit too clever than it really is and falls victim to pulling the same ruse too many times.
WORTH NOTING SO FAR…
M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.
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