Movie Review: ‘The Apology’

I am a fan of live theater and one method of stage storytelling I have always been fascinated by is the simplistic one. Onstage you are limited to 2-4 characters and maybe a single setpiece but a crackling script and gifted actors can turn something so stripped down into something enthralling. Every so often you see this translated to other forms of media successfully such as in the case of the new psychological thriller The Apology.

As she prepares to host her family for Christmas, Darlene is surprised to find that her ex-brother-in-law Jack has turned up at her house hoping for some kind of reconciliation with his ex-wife and kids. A powerful blizzard means that he is trapped at her house for the foreseeable future but it turns out his coming by was no accident. Twenty years prior, Darlene’s daughter had gone missing and it was only a short timed thereafter that Jack left. On this night Jack is ready to lay his soul bare that he is responsible for the kidnapping and murder all those years ago. Finally seeing her chance to learn the truth, or the trickle truth he subjects her to, Darlene, along with her friend Gretchen, must survive the night with a dangerous and unstable character where the holder of the upper-hand is constantly shifting.

With her first full-length feature writer/director Alison Locke has shown the skill of a filmmaker with years of experience. Like a conductor with an orchestra she slowly takes the audience by the hand and takes them on a roller coaster of a film. We watch a night between two characters unfold that begins amicable, becomes awkward then ultimately becomes a pulse-pounding nightmare. She also benefits from a trio of gifted performers who bring her vision to life in the form of Anna Gunn, Linus Roache, and Janeane Garofalo. Gunn’s performance is perfect as she brings so many layers to the lead role. We can see throughout the run of the film her inner-struggle about her desire for revenge on her daughter’s killer or need to have justice finally served. All the while she knows Jack is up to something and she has no desire in getting caught up in whatever game he is playing.

With only three characters trapped in a single home the Apology will keep you riveted from the beginning to its unexpected but satisfyingly perfect end. It is no secret that we horror fans like our holiday-themed movies too and the Apology fits that bill perfectly. Having recently dropped on Shudder I hope plenty of people tune in to watch this great flick