Seriously, don’t read this review until after you’ve seen the movie. The less you know, the more you will enjoy this nifty thriller, which craftily makes the most of its micro-budget to maximize a deliciously mind-bending story. As in all great thrillers, the scary stuff is not what’s on the outside, but what the stuff on the outside does to the stuff in the inside, meaning not just the inside of the characters but the inside of the audience.
James Ward Byrkit, who wrote “Rango” and created the visual design for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies (all with Gore Verbinski), wanted to take some time away from seven-figure-budget blockbusters and create something small and intimate. He literally shot it in his living room, with a cast of vaguely familiar looking but under the radar actors. As the movie begins, eight friends are getting together for a dinner party. We get some sense of the relationships and some tensions as they gather. They engage in routine dinner party chat, mentioning in passing some news about a comet due to pass overhead along with the usual updates and gossip. And then the phones stop working. And then the lights stop working. And then someone says he’d better go outside to find out what is happening. And we’ve all seen enough movies to know that this is probably not a great idea.
What happens next is not a plot twist but a plot Rubik’s Cube, an ingeniously plotted infinite regression of meta-realities. To say any more would be to spoil the movie’s best surprises.
Parents should know that this is a psychological thriller with a pervasive sense of dread and some violence. Characters drink and use drugs and there is strong language.
Family discussion: What decision do you wish you could go back and do over?
If you like this, try: “Identity”