Updated: Jun 13, 2019
The Perfection of Nauseating Psychological Horror
By Kelly M. Hudson
Two cello prodigies—Charlotte (Alison Williams), the troubled former student who had to leave her training to attend her dying mother, and the current “It” girl, Lizzie (Logan Browning), who always had a crush on the older Charlotte—meet at an audition of new potential students held by their former teacher, Anton (Stephen Weber). The two hook up and after a night of whirlwind romance, they decide to go on a little trek through the countryside together. Then things get weird, like, vomiting up squirming worms weird. And then they get weirder. To say any more would be to give away plot points and storyline twists, and this is a film that carefully builds up these moments, constructed as an unraveling of layers of mysteries and motivations. Let’s just say things get icky and go from there, leading to a terrific, almost surrealistic finale.
The film revolves totally around three main characters, initially Charlotte and Lizzie and then, later on, their complicated relationship with their former instructor, Anton. Nothing is as it appears, and motivations that might seem pure at first turn into smoke and transform into something much deadlier. The movie employs a rewind effect so that we see how we got to where we are from the different perspectives of the two main leads. It is effective and rewarding, clearing up any questions without bogging the narrative down in endless exposition. All three actors are in fine form, delivering terrific performances. And the story itself? The horror here will send chills down your spine. And let’s be clear: this is a horror film. This is much too dark to be “psychological suspense” territory (although there’s plenty of that). The horror here resides not in the blood spilt but in the mind games played, and the awful consequences of real-world actions on the lives of those impacted. Again, I am being vague, but this is a necessity, because to reveal anything would spoil the initial viewing experience.
Will the film hold with repeated viewings? I think so. It will be interesting to go back and revisit the scenes, now knowing what they mean and where they are leading. In fact, it might be extra juicy to do so.
If you’re in the mood for some horror that will curl your brain and make your soul wince, you’ve found a new film to love. If you want chop ‘em up bloody slaughter, this ain’t the one for you. Give it a try, because even if The Perfection isn’t perfect, it’s damned near close.
The Perfection is streaming exclusively on Netflix.
3/4 Buckets of Blood
Kelly is the author of dozens of stories and dozens of reviews, he likes to write, he likes to read, he likes going to the movies, and he loves to laugh. He hails from the wilds of Kentucky and if you'd like to see more of his work, check out his website www.kellymhudson.com