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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Film Review - Coherence

By Adam Ruhl

This was the first movie I saw for Fantastic Fest 2013. To prepare to review it for its theatrical release I looked back on what I first wrote about the film nine months ago. I kept my words short and sweet then and was not especially complimentary. Knowing that, I decided to go into my second viewing with an open mind and give it another shot. Coherence is better than I initially gave it credit for; presenting a number of really intriguing concepts and building a great mystery that deepens as it goes along. However, some of my primary complaint about the film is still on display and continues to stand out for me. Let’s discuss.

Coherence follows eight friends who are gathering for a dinner party on what turns out to be the night of a passing comet. The comet comes up numerous times in conversation; being blamed for everything from breaking cell phones to power outages. After the power failure they notice that only one house in the neighborhood still has lights and a pair from the party go to investigate.

It would be impossible to reveal what they find without giving away the best parts of the plot so I will endeavor to entice you without spoilers. The story from that point dives into some really amazing and terrifying territory. There are no huge special effect or rubber monsters; in fact one of the film’s real strengths is its use of simple staging and props. This movie looks like it got maximum mileage out of a very modest budget and to great effect. The twists are layered on top of each other and a wonderful paranoia sets in.

At Fantastic Fest, the film won the Next Wave Best Screenplay Award and it is a strong story, but there are many scenes where the dialogue feels improvised. This is one of the weak spots as the dialogue at times feels stilted and forced, as if the actors are struggling to find connections to the next topic to move the plot along. There are also some plot conveniences that are pretty groan worthy; for example, they need a specific rare book and one of the characters happens to have it in the back of their car.

Overall Coherence is a pretty fun film in spite of some cringe inducing dialogue. By the end you’ll find yourself adding it all up and making connections long after it’s done. The more mind blowing parts of the story really grew on me the second time around and I was won over by its originality. I think Coherence will be best loved by those with a love of metaphysical suspense. 

COHERENCE hits theaters on June 20th.
89 minutes
Not Rated

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