04/28/2023 07:59

Film: Coherence

Year: 2013

Director: James Ward Byrkit

Writer: James Ward Byrkit

Starring: Emily Baldoni, Maury Sterling and Nicholas Brendon



This is a movie that I first heard about thanks to podcasts. It isn’t one that comes up regularly, but I knew the title. To be honest, I feel like before seeing Resolution, I would get the two mixed up. This one I’m finally checking out thanks to Duncan as he selected this for the last Movie Club Challenge on the Podcast Under the Stairs.

Synopsis: strange things begin to happen when a group of friends gather for a dinner party on an evening when a comet is passing overhead.

We start this a car. Em (Emily Baldoni) is going to a dinner party with her friends. She is talking on the phone to her boyfriend, Kevin (Maury Sterling). It sounds like he met up with another friend and they’re on their way to the same house as well. The call gets dropped and Em’s phone cracks in her hand. She is confused by this. As the synopsis said, there is a comet that can be seen in the night sky. She wonders if that has anything to do with what happened to her phone.

At the house, we meet the rest of our group. Mike (Nicholas Brendon) is married to Lee (Lorene Scafaria). They are hosting. Also, there is Beth (Elizabeth Gracen) who is married to Hugh (Hugo Armstrong). Hugh isn’t there yet. He arrives soon after with Kevin. The last to show up is Amir (Alex Manugian). He is with Laurie (Lauren Maher). This is awkward since she used to date Kevin. There is a bit of jealousy there with Em. It also seems like Amir tends to date his friends’ exes as well.

The night takes a turn when no one’s cellphones work. The internet seems to be out as well. Hugh’s phone also cracks like Em’s did. The power then goes out. What is interesting here is that a house down the street still has power on. Hugh and Amir go to check it out. Things get even weirder when they come back, saying that there was no one in the other house. It looks exactly like the one they’re in. Amir also took a box off the porch and Hugh fell, hitting his head. They also brought up a dark patch that they went through. Things get quite confusing from there as they make sense of what is happening. They might have found a worm hole that could be a bridge to other dimensions, where things are similar but just slightly different.

That is where I’m going to leave my recap as that gets you introduced to the characters and the main idea. Where I want to start is that we have a simple premise, but the science behind this is complicated. There is this group of friends who get together regularly to catch up. Or at least that is how it seems. This will be my first positive in the fact that this does feel like a group of friends. What makes this feel more real, they know what buttons to push with each other. There is history between them and the littlest things can set them off. I can also identify people in my friend’s group. That helps to get into a story like this.

Now with that established, let me go over to the crux of this. This is a time travel movie. Not in the traditional sense though. If anything, I say this is more of a time bending movie. I like that this establishes there’s a comet going overheard. Em’s phone breaks. Hugh’s does as well. His brother is a scientist who is collecting data. I like that he warned Hugh that if weird things happened to contact him. That becomes the goal of Hugh during this ordeal. Em tells of a story she read on Wikipedia about an event like this that happened in Finland in the year 1923. People were confused and acting differently. That sets the stage here and gives that eerie vibe. It then takes an odd turn as this group tries to grasp what is happening and go for help. They keep going through the wormhole and the version that ends up back at the house are different. This is exploring the idea that there are multiple dimensions around us where we are similar but making different choices along this path. I love that the movie is exploring it.

Something interesting here is the actual genre of this movie. Both the Internet Movie Database and Letterboxd list this as thriller and science fiction. Those are dead on. IMDb also includes drama and mystery, which fit. I was watching this as a horror movie as well. It isn’t in the traditional sense. This would go more into the adjacent category. There is a feeling of dread as the night goes on. Em also sees the darker versions of their group as this goes on as well. The tensions and the characters knowing too much about each other causes tempers to flair. It is from there that bad decisions are made that could lead to disastrous results.

There’s not much more I can delve into with the science so I’ll go over to the acting. That is what makes this in my opinion. Baldoni is good as our ‘control’ character. From my understanding, she doesn’t leave the house until late. That would mean that as characters come and go, she is the constant that we know stays there. I like that she isn’t science based but doing her best to make sense of things. She is someone I connected with as she is the ‘audience’ in my opinion. She also shows good emotion with Kevin and Laurie. Sterling is good along with Scafaria, Gracen, Manugian and Maher. I wanted to point out that Brendon here is interesting. He pushes people’s buttons so he creates issues that way. Armstrong is good as someone who is also trying to figure things out. He seems a bit smarter than most everyone in the house as well. The acting though is good across the board. They do well in becoming these characters in my opinion.

The last things to go into then would be with the filmmaking. I think that the cinematography is good here. This is shot well. What is interesting though is that we get these cuts at the end of sequences. We don’t shift anywhere; it will just cut to black. I found this to be strategic though as it goes on. That seems to end thoughts before going to the next. I take this as when we are getting to a decision being made and the creation of a new dimension. I didn’t notice them as much as things go on. This does well in building tension as well. It starts off slower to allow you to get to know the characters before ending in a flurry. I had a bit of trouble keeping things together, but I almost feel that is by design. Our characters can’t either. Other than that, I’d say that the soundtrack fit for what was needed.

In conclusion, I dug what this is doing. We get a simple enough story with complicated science behind it. I don’t fully understand everything that is happening, but I don’t know if we are supposed to. The acting here is good. I like that we get to meet the characters before we see slight variations in them. There are times where they aren’t even noticeable until later. I thought that was genius to be honest. This is a tight, contained film that worked for me. I don’t think it is great. It is ambitious for what is doing though and I give it credit there. It is also well made which helps. Won’t be for everyone, but I would recommend giving this a viewing for sure.


My Rating: 7.5 out of 10