(US - 2019)
Directed by Richard Shepard. Written by Richard Shepard, Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder. Cast: Allison Williams, Logan Browning, Steven Weber, Alaina Huffman, Mark Kandborg, Graeme Duffy, Molly Grace, Eileen Tian, Milah Thompson, Winnie Hung, Johnny Ji, David Soo. (Unrated, 90 mins)
Horror's "slow burn" movement over the last decade has given way to term "elevated horror," often invoked when it comes to the likes of THE WITCH, HEREDITARY, the Jordan Peele double-shot of GET OUT and US, and other ambitious thinkpiece-launchers. The Netflix Original film THE PERFECTION is every bit as important a modern horror film, even though "elevated horror" really reeks of highbrow snobbery and a term used as a pass for those who like the movie in question but still regard the genre with scornful dismissal. Regardless of what kind of horror you want to call it, THE PERFECTION is a film best approached knowing as little as possible. It's a deranged gut-punch that weds the stylistic flourishes of Brian De Palma with the shocking ferocity of South Korean OLDBOY and THE HANDMAIDEN auteur Park Chan-wook. It's an out-of-left-field stunner from director Richard Shepard--best known for 2005's THE MATADOR and the 2009 John Cazale documentary I KNEW IT WAS YOU--who co-wrote with RINGER and SUPERNATURAL vets Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder. The filmmakers have so many twists and tricks up their sleeve--and they actually play fair with how they're revealed--that it takes some time before you realize you've been sent in the wrong direction, whether it's a flashback to show you that what you just saw is indeed not what happened, a second-act change in protagonists, or the way they have you continually shifting your alliances with the major characters.