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Coherence
★★★★☆
First run Theater cinema

At first, James Ward Byrkit’s film Coherence seems like yet another self-conscious, no-budget indie picture; the kind that’s shot in a handful of days with a cast of unremarkable young improv-trained actors, rapidly filmed with multiple handheld consumer-grade cameras, and edited with no sense of craft. But about ten minutes in, when Byrkit’s central conceit takes hold, the film becomes riveting and remarkable. What starts out as a simple dinner party amongst a group of friends turns into an unnerving mind-bender. I don’t want to say anything more because this type of picture plays best the less you know going in. Likewise, any advanced knowledge about the process by which the film was made would also diminish the experience of seeing it (at least for the first time). Suffice to say that what could have been the type of gimmicky stunt movie that I so often disparage ends up being one of the best psychological sci-fi chillers of the last two decades. Byrkit creates genuine fear, tension, and nervous laughter through his simple but creepy concept, and his cast rises to the challenge of this inventively staged, lo-tech thriller. Coherence is a thoroughly satisfying cinematic experience.

Directed by James Ward Byrkit
Produced by Lene Bausager

Screenplay by James Ward Byrkit
Story by James Ward Byrkit and Alex Manugian

With: Hugo Armstrong, Emily Baldoni, Nicholas Brendon, Elizabeth Gracen, Lauren Maher, Alex Manugian, Lorene Scafaria, and Maury Sterling

Cinematography: Nic Sadler
Editing: Lance Pereira
Music: Kristin Øhrn Dyrud

Runtime: 89 min
Release Date: 19 September 2013
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Color