FEATURING: Emily Foxler, Maury Sterling, Nicholas Brendon, Elizabeth Gracen, Lauren Maher, Alex Manugian, Emily Baldoni, Hugo Armstrong & Lorene Scararia
DIRECTING VISION: James Ward Brykit
SCREENWRITER: James Ward Brykit
Coherence is a challenging film to write about. Saying too much will give away the brilliance of the plot and undermine the genius behind the first feature film of James Ward Brykit. On the contrary, I fear saying too little will fail to steer attention towards a very coherent independent flick that earns recognition! James Ward is best known for being one of the writers (and voice actors) of 2011′s Rango. Considering how great that film is, Coherence being exceptional did not come as any sort of surprise. In fact…I was more surprised over the fact that I learned about science theories such as Schrodinger’s Cat and quantum decoherence in a film instead of a textbook in class. I went in with the expectations that this would be a great science-fiction thriller and I left completely satisfied with what I had viewed!
This film is a shining example of what very talented filmmakers can accomplish on a small-budget. It is confined to a single location for the majority of the films eighty-nine minute run-time and the cast consists of longtime friends of the director. The living-room where all the action takes place is actually…the…actual…living-room of James Ward Brykit! How cool is that? Guess what folks? The cool factor does not end there! Coherence does not have a proper screenplay or script to work with! General notes and slight character descriptions were given to the cast but the overall success of this film relies on good old improvisation! The cool continues with the point that the character reactions throughout all the riveting madness are completely natural. Someone knocks on the door! No one is told beforehand! A knife comes into play! No one sees that coming! Once again, I am reminded of science. I became educated on scientific theories that I was previously unfamiliar with and felt bombarded by memories of science class when researching how this film came to life! In science class, we did labs every now and then where we would do an experiment! Bryzit did a science experiment with Coherence and the end result delivered on his hypothesis! “If I mix a skilled cast who can improvise with suspenseful science-fiction then a intriguing and fascinating plot will occur!”.
Eight longtime friends gather for dinner with plans of chatter and fine dining. However, a relaxing night is not set in the stars for these snarky folks! Em (Foxler) arrives to dinner with the screen of her phone cracked and speculates that a comet passing overhead might be responsible. This is where the science-fiction threat jumps into play….and the expected relationship drama fun. Wait? You did not expect it? You must have known that eight longtime friends definitely shared sex buddies at one point or another. If you have sex with someone once and stay in touch with the person after, tension still exists eight out of ten times. Mostly if the sex was good! So yeah….these characters are in deep trouble when mysterious problems start to arise and jealously strikes the partners of those in relationships who turned their chemistry into biology with someone else in the room!
Let me stress the word “mysterious”! Viewers are left constantly wondering how these characters are going to solve the mysterious issues being dumped onto their plates. Bryzit takes control of our curiosity and does not hesitate to toss more questions our way whenever he gets a chance. Clues are cleverly placed around and revelations are gradually delivered but the amusement is in trying to figure out solutions along with the characters! I will be pointing out the obvious by saying that Coherence can get confusing at times. It is a mind-bender capable of stumping both those who are paying attention and those who are focused more on their hot date or cellphone. The latter will be completely in the dark whilst those paying attention may be given a flashlight. This film features a heavy amount of dialogue and discussion between the characters. The dialogue feels very natural which makes it more interesting but I can see folks who complain about films being too talky having an issue here.
Bryzit crafts a gripping science-fiction tale without the need for special effects, aliens or robots! While I do love those things very much, Coherence avoiding the typical science-fiction cornerstones proves intelligent considering the budget. It focuses on maximizing suspense and intriguing viewers with the tools that it does have at its disposal. Anybody remember Twilight Zone? Of course you folks do! Familiar elements are present and serve as the primary influence behind Coherence! Must I say cool again?
Superpower Film Scale: 4/5
1: Villainous Waste
2: Careless Bystander
3: Hero unaware of powers
4: On the verge of greatness
5: Heroic film
Standout acting heroes: Emily Foxler
Photo credit: Wikipedia, Rotten Tomatoes & IMDB