Movie Review: ‘The Perfection’

Director: Richard Shepard

Cast: Allison Williams, Logan Browning, Steven Weber, Alaina Huffman

Plot: Two highly skilled cello players met and form an instant connection and that’s all I’m prepared to explain because spoilers.

Review: As you can tell from the plot summary, this is a movie best seen without context. And I have to thank my friend Andy for telling me that this is a movie worth going into blind because I would likely have turned it off at the point of maggot vomit under the impression that it was a gross body-horror movie. That’s just not my jam. Anyway, if it’s that important to you to see it without context, go and watch it. I found it to be unique, unexpected and worthwhile. Not Earth-shakingly brilliant, but worth your time if you like experimental horror.

The movie begins with Charlotte (Williams), whose mother dies after a years long battle with cancer. She travels to China to reconnect with her highly acclaimed cello tutor Anton (Weber) who introduces her to his new protégée, Lizzie (Browning). The two celebrity cellists immediately form a connection, which quickly turns to highly charged sexual energy. They quickly agree to tour rural China together, but Lizzie falls sick and begins vomiting bugs. The sudden introduction of this disgusting plot element – lots and lots of puking and pooping – feels like a sudden change in tone.

“Sudden change in tone” is a term that needs to be used often in regards to this movie. I am very happy with the fact this large degree of puking and pooping did not form the basis of the horror in this movie, as it isn’t long before it gets into a level of surrealism with unusual character behaviours on par with David Lynch. At this point we get a look back at previous events to learn that things are not what they seemed up until this point.

The real drive of the film is the relationship between Charlotte, Lizzie and Anton and the dark secrets that they share. At this point we’re not going to discuss the plot any further because it zigs, zags and backtracks so often and there’s no way to discuss it without spoiling everything that makes the movie unique. We will say that we had to rearrange our perception of what was happing in the movie, which character we were sympathetic towards and who we perceived as the villain.

For fans of horror who are tired of the repetitive franchises and copycats this is going to be a treat. It supported by strong performances and very well utilised art and set design. It’s certainly ambitious in its scale and intent and the director has done an excellent job of steering the audience in one direction, and then another, and then another. If that sounds like something you want, go and check it out and be ready to be disturbed.

Rating: SEVEN out of TEN