Sunday afternoon my sweetie-wife and I went out for a San Diego Film Geeks presentation of the 1972 Italian crime movie What Have You Done to Solange? That was enjoyable and salacious but it left me wanting a shorter movie for my later night Sunday Night Movies feature. Most of the shorter horror films in my library are of the classic Universal period and were ones I have watched recently but I wanted something newer. Browsing the selection on Shudder I stumbled about this low-budget SF/thriller Coherence. Decent rotten tomatoes score (88%) and it looked interesting
Coherence is the story of a dinner party, the friends collected for the evening all have tensions pulling at them but seem gamely dedicated to having a good time. Strange events being occurring, cell phones shattering in their hands, power-outages and more, as a comet is passing overhead. When they notice that there is one house that seems to have power and lights while the entire neighborhood is blacked-out, pair of the men venture to it in hopes of contacting relatives. This is when the SF aspect takes over and this film becomes the stuff of a Twilight Zone episode. That perhaps is the best point of reference for this movie, as being very low budget (IMDB reports $50,000) this story is driven by the characters and not special effect or cinematography. Frankly I was surprised by the quality of the story. This movie worked very well and I am not going to discuss its details because this is one best watched, like hobbits returned to Isengard, unspoiled.
There are two flaws that bothered me in the movie. First off, I understand the need to keep the camera work simple, but the focus going in and out from an ‘auto-focus’ mirroring effect became quite annoying, and secondly a comet is terrible explanation for the events. Comets are nothing more than dirty snowballs in space. With just five minutes though I devised a better rationale that would have changed nothing in the actual production.
Those flaws aside, Coherence, was a good film, taunt and tense, with properly dark turns. If you have access to the streaming site Shudder, give it a view.