The Perfection (dir. Richard Shepard, 2019) – Strange events unfold when musical prodigy Lizzie encounters the former star pupil of her school.
A deceptively simple thriller slips in slick blood across genres. Avoid trailers at all costs.
Art demands perfection and thrives on competition. This endless pressure to be the best can manifest dangerous demands. In Whiplash, it coerces hurtful abuse out of two musicians in their strive for the ideal.
Borrowing the same note, The Perfection sees the same ghost haunt cello prodigy Charlotte (Allison Williams), whose promising career was cut short upon her mother’s illness. When she meets the new star pupil of her former school Lizzie (Logan Browning), she is driven to violent jealousy… or so we are led to believe.
The Netflix chiller soon reveals itself to be a more convoluted labyrinth with dark secrets at every turn. A rewind lets loose revelations that gravely complicate Charlotte’s motive. Bizarre events transpire, delivering consecutive fake-outs that both infuriate and impress.
This is no Black Swan. Themes fall away, stripping the film’s initial facade as a thoughtful psychological thriller. In its place is an over-the-top ploy of grotesque revenge, driven by an imaginative, amorous, and brutal mind.
The skilful execution of the twist galore has us forgive its initial deception, awed by just how blindsided we had been. No sane mind could see where the story is headed, and that is the charm of the film. It is unafraid to embrace the absurd, especially in its third act that may just make David Cronenberg smile.
The pure audacity of those final minutes is enough to have one reeling; the visceral madness in its last frame was but icing on the bloody cake. This understandably frustrates those looking for more. But to that, this horror fan says, well played Mr. Shepard. Well played.