Movie Review: THE PERFECTION (2019)

THE PERFECTION is the latest film from director Richard Shepard (The Matador) and is one of the craziest horror films I’ve seen this year and will keep the audience guessing until the very bloody end. The film stars Allison Williams (Get Out), Logan Browning (Dear White People), Alaina Huffman (TV’s Smallville), and Steven Weber (TV’s The Shining, Channel Zero).

Divided into four sections, THE PERFECTION is a roller-coaster of a ride about a troubled musical prodigy named Charlotte (Allison Williams) who, upon the death of her mother, returns to the world of music to seek out Elizabeth (Logan Browning), the new star pupil of her former school. What starts off innocently quickly turns dangerously unhinged as the story unfolds and secrets are revealed, culminating in an ending that is just as surprising as it is effective.

Allison Williams in THE PERFECTION

I had the chance to watch an advance screening of this film recently and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since. Furthermore, trying to review a film filled with spoilers is one of the harder aspects of my job, but I’m going to do my best to not give anything pertinent away. The film starts off by introducing us to Charlotte, a musical prodigy in her own right, who has been away from the music world for ten years after her mother fell ill. Very early on we see flashbacks to a time in Charlotte’s life that pinpoints moments of distress, allowing for the viewer to get a peek into Charlotte’s mental state. After her mother passes away, Charlotte travels to Shanghai where she meets Elizabeth, a cellist who has gained fame and notoriety due to her immense talent. The two quickly become friends, regaling each other with tales of admiration and sneaking flirtatious looks at one another. After a night of dancing and sex, Elizabeth asks Charlotte to come with her on a 2-week trip to explore Shanghai. However, as they begin their adventure, Elizabeth starts developing stomach and head pains that are so severe that it begins to alarm those around her. This is culminated by a pivotal moment that sets into motion the twists and turns that unfold in one of the most unique films of the year.

THE PERFECTION is rather perfect when I come to think of it. Though it’s run-time is a brisk 90 minutes, what writers Eric C. Charmelo, Nicole Snyder and Richard Shepard are able to convey in such a brief amount of time is impressive. Furthermore, in order to be able to execute a film such as this so brilliantly, it needs to be tightly wound without any missteps which were achieved in not only the writing but the directing and acting. It’s a smart thriller, one that’ll keep viewers on their toes as the true horror is revealed and the motives are put forth. Honestly, with so many twists and turns, I wasn’t sure what the outcome was going to be, but once everything was laid bare, it all made complete sense… and in its own fucked up way, the actions of Charlotte and Elizabeth were justified. Without giving anything away I can tell you that the major theme in the film has to do with revenge and if you are wondering how just wait and see.

Allison Williams and Logan Browning in THE PERFECTION

I also appreciated the uniqueness in which the film was shot, especially the close-up shots during the more heightened moments. I think the most telling one is when both women are playing their cellos in front of a large crowd and you can see the passion and intensity in their performance as the camera zooms in on one of them playing and the other in the foreground. What truly makes this film work so well though are the performances from both Allison Williams and Logan Browning. They are so believable in their role that it’s easy to fall into the trap of what you think is happening without realizing the true nature of the story. Both women truly shine in their respective portrayals. It was also wonderful to see Steven Weber again, having just seen him in Channel Zero: The Dream Door. I love how much he’s embraced the horror genre both in his past work and his current work and believe me when I say, his character Anton, who owns the elite cello school, Bachoff, is one that won’t be easily forgotten. 

In all, THE PERFECTION lives up to its name in both the acting, storytelling and overall execution. It’s a film that is relevant to how the political climate is affecting women, especially in regards to the #MeToo movement, and one that will leave you cheering long after the credits have rolled. There’s a lot to take away from the film and I’m interested to know what others think once they have the opportunity to watch it, especially because most people are going to be in for one hell of a wild ride! With that said, make sure you check out THE PERFECTION when it arrives on Netflix this Friday, May 24th.



Shannon McGrew
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