If your love for watching psychologically twisted movies can only rival your penchant for reading late-night Reddit theories on their endings – watching yourself,fans – I have a request.
Please stop scrolling endlessly on any streaming service you’ve watched, switch to Amazon Prime and watch the 2013 low budget sci-fi movie Coherence ASAP – it’s free for subscribers, right now. I know. I just watched it … for the fourth time.
Coherence’s initial premise is pretty straightforward. A few friends gather for a dinner the same evening a mysterious comet is to fly over. It starts out as many independent films do, with a troubled love affair, tensions between exes, and witty jokes.
Then the power goes out. It’s getting weird. Act two.
Inexplicable events ensue as all of the characters scramble to restore power. Nothing is as it had seemed. Some begin to doubt where they are, others are more concerned about who they are. This is not a movie about the chatter of longtime buddies. It is the story of them coming face to face with the terrifying truth of their reality.
If I share more, I would risk massively spoiling the shocking revelations uncovered during the film. I can assure you, however, that the confusion on the screen is powerful enough to force you to question your own sanity.
I’m only slightly exaggerating.
The hour that follows is bursting with twists and turns that could rival those of Shutter Island in 2010. The film also cleverly hints at scientific – and rather philosophical – concepts that likely crossed the mind of the late Stephen Hawking.
Coherence connects the social, personal and existential consequences that would arise from a complex theory of space and time with a thrilling mystery. Dotted with red herrings, Easter eggs, and a few ambiguities, Coherence is arguably one of the most mind-boggling sci-fi movies I’ve ever seen.
And believe me, I have gone through several sci-fi IMDB lists, diligently looking at them in order.
Maybe I can sell you the fact that Coherence, which borders on horror at times, was made on a limited budget of just $ 50,000 and shot in just five days. For context, Alfonso Cuarón’s 2013 film Gravity was made with $ 100 million.
I recently over-watched low budget sci-fi movies because I found that what these movies lack in theaters, they make up for in story. Tribute to Operation Avalanche (2016), Another Earth (2011) and Primer (2004).
Consistency, however, was the movie that started my journey.
Interstellar may have offered the startling image of a giant, iconic wave that almost wipes out the main characters to the tune of Hans Zimmer. The Martian probably stole your heart with his stunning depiction of a barren Mars amid a blanket of fog. And Arrival may have been the first time you’ve mourned a dark alien doing ink-like sign language.
But Coherence elegantly tells the story of a group of friends grappling with reality, navigating the frightening turns that reality can take – without the help of CGI, from one place and with only the sound of actors’ voices.
Director James Ward Byrkit even decided to forgo a script for the quietly experimental film. “Every day, instead of getting a script, the actors were given a page of notes for their individual character, whether it was a story or information about their motivations,” he said. Recount IndieWire.
Because the actors have been left in the dark about how the story will unfold, any stress and bewilderment in their performance is genuine. The chaotic disarray of the film was Actually happens during the filming of the film.
The consistency will make you guess with the cast, elicit audible gasps, and make you feel a bit like a sci-fi spy. Hours after the credits roll, you might just feel chills as previously overlooked clues and nuances slowly overwhelm you.
I actually got goosebumps thinking about this scene. You will know which one.
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