A young woman finds out that her husband is a monster.
Elizabeth (Abbey Lee) is newly married to Henry (Ciarán Hinds), a brilliant scientist. They arrive at Henry’s manor and are greeted by the staff, Claire (Carla Gugino) and Oliver (Matthew Beard). Elizabeth enjoys her new married life, but is told by her husband that there is one room which she may never enter. Henry leaves soon on a work trip, and eventually Elizabeth decides to investigate the room. After she looks inside, Henry comes home and, realizing she looked, kills her. A few weeks later, Elizabeth is newly married to Henry, a brilliant scientist. They arrive at Henry’s manor and are greeted by the staff. It turns out that Elizabeth is being cloned by Henry over and over again, and periodically the Elizabeth harvest must come.
I’ll start by saying that I think this movie is well shot and well acted. Hinds is one of my favorite actors in anything and having him portray a vicious Bluebeard-esque husband with a genius mind and a penchant for dropping strange trivia is great casting. Abbey Lee, who I thought was great in the film The Neon Demon does a great job playing the innocent girl who is married to an aloof, but powerful and impressive, man. Gugino and Beard each have great scenes that give them a moment to shine. Even Dylan Baker, who is only in the movie briefly, is solid. Behind the camera, the cinematography does a good job of heightening Elizabeth’s isolation and the distant relationship between her and Henry, then later between her and the other people. In fact, the cinematography and acting are so good that it almost makes up for the fact that this movie really isn’t that good.
See the plot summary I just wrote? That covers about the first half of the film. The rest of the movie, which clocks in at about an hour and forty minutes, is mostly just a convoluted explanation of why Elizabeth is being cloned. You know how I’m a big fan of “show, don’t tell?” Yeah, this is a ton of tell that has very little show. Moreover, almost everything that is revealed to the audience is so very, very obvious, mostly from the good performances and visual storytelling at the beginning. You keep waiting for there to be some kind of surprise twist, but… nope. It’s really just telling you a bunch of stuff that you probably could have guessed from the start. Sure, you might not have gotten all of the details, but you could have gotten the broad strokes. Instead, you are force fed a bunch of strangely elaborate motivations and plots by all of the characters that led to the current situation. Motivations that really fall apart upon closer examination. It reminded me of a great line from the Simpsons: “It’s so simple… wait, no it’s not, it’s needlessly complicated.”
Overall, it’s not a bad movie, particularly from a technical standpoint, but it never really did anything super original or interesting. I would recommend just watching Ex Machina if you’ve never seen it, because it’s a similar story, but touches on more themes.
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