Why hello, my readers!
Long time, no see! I’ve been writing like crazy, both on my WIP and on some short fiction that I created to submit to various anthologies. But you’re not here to read about my current writing projects, or maybe you are, you’ve clicked this link to read all about my review of the latest Netflix horror flick: The Perfection.
As this movie was just recently released, I will not be including any spoilers in the first part of this review.
Released in May 2019, The Perfection was directed by Richard Shepard, from a screenplay by Shepard, Nicole Snyder and Eric C. Charmelo. It stars Allison Williams, Logan Browning, and Steven Weber. The premise of the movie is about a woman named Charlotte (Allison Williams) reaching out to former instructors of hers. She used to be their rising star cellist, who was forced to leave the school at a young age because of her mother’s terminal illness. A decade later and the mom has died, so Charlotte travels to Shanghai to reunite with those instructors. She meets their new star, Lizzie (Logan Browning), they seem to hit it off, end up clubbing together, and becoming romantically involved. Lizzie lets Charlotte know that she is planning on having a little vacation and exploring China. Her romantic side is strong because she invites Charlotte along.
From there, it becomes a twisting tale with lots of twists, red-herrings, and blood.
A warning for anyone wondering if they should watch it: you should expect graphic scenes of body mutilation, self-harm, and sexual assault.
Firstly, let me say the acting from the two female leads is superb. They are compelling and strong, and just plain bad-ass. The red-herrings they throw in were really well done. Even Netflix is keeping it tight-lipped about the plot, describing the movie like this:
“In this twisty horror-thriller, a once-promising music prodigy reconnects with her former mentors, only to find them taken with a talented new pupil.”
A few sites like Insider and Buzzfeed (these links may contain spoilers, enter at your own risk!), also claim that the movie has been making people vomit. While other articles claim that this movie either perfectly embodies the #MeToo movement OR takes everything from it and mutilates it. Again, there’ll be spoilers in these links, but if you want to learn what sparks such opposing opinions, you can check out this New York Times review and this Vox one.
As for what I thought about watching it? I enjoyed it. There were some plot points I won’t mention until after the “Spoiler-free border” is crossed below, but they confused me a bit as to why they were needed. Otherwise, it was a super solid film.
Okay, now if you haven’t seen it, it’s time to get on out of here. Past this point, you will have crossed the spoiler-free boundary!
Seriously, turn back now!
Okay, spoilers ahoy!
Watching the movie was a wild ride. I went into it thinking the Netflix description was accurate, so I thought that Charlotte would be planning something awful against Lizzie (which wasn’t entirely wrong.) Then there was that mention of a disease happening in a different part of China, the gala event-goer starts puking, and when Lizzie got sick – well, I got rather excited thinking this was going to be an awesome bug-infested plague movie.
I won’t lie, I was a little disappointed when it was just hallucinatory drugs. I did like the way the film “zipped” back to show the different side of things. I thought that was a creative way to show it. It also seemed to reconfirm the Netflix red herring that Charlotte was jealous of Lizzie. Hence why she tricked Lizzie into cutting off her hand.
Of course, then everything goes insane and suddenly it’s an elaborate ploy to get rid of Lizzie’s brainwashing and get bloody revenge on the messed up school administrators that raped them all through their childhoods.
It was set-up really well, I definitely wasn’t expecting Lizzie to actually be on Charlotte’s side after the whole Luke Skywalker treatment.
One thing that confused me, why did Lizzie actually need to cut off her hand in order to undo the “brainwashing”? Why not a normal conversation? Therapy? Maybe it is supposed to play into the fact that Charlotte had only recently been released from an institution (also not really explained) so that’s the only thing she can think of to “save” Lizzie?
Also, I didn’t understand the brainwashing aspect of it. This may explain why the hand-chopping seemed a bit extreme. They don’t really show how this school managed to brainwash these girls into completely accepting brutal rape as being okay. It seemed a bit… contrived.
Anyway, still 9/10 because I thought it was well done, but I would love to read some of your opinions about it.
Until next time, everyone, remember to never take pills from someone you met the day before!
x P.L. McMillan