Coherence (2013) – James Ward Byrkit

Coherence is a fascinating and engaging science fiction mystery, exploring a number of theories of quantum physics. It’s even more incredible when you learn it was shot chronologically over five nights, and was mostly improvised, with the actors receiving notes to guide them through each scene.

Mainly set in one location, the story follows eight friends at a dinner party, that soon descends into mystery and existential horror caused by the close pass of a comet overhead.

At the film’s heart is Em (Emily Baldoni), a young woman who is beautiful, smart, but sometimes a little too reticent to make a choice or a stand. But that will change before the night is out.

She joins Mike (Nicholas Brendon), Lee (Lorene Scafaria), her boyfriend Kevin (Maury Sterling), Kevin’s ex, Laurie (Lauren Maher) and her boyfriend, Amir (Alex Manugian), Hugh (Hugo Armstrong) and Beth (Elizabeth Gracen) for an evening of laughter, drinks and dinner, but the close pass of the comet causes a number of mysterious problems, including knocking out their power.

When it seems only one house in the neighborhood still has power, none of them are ready for the revelation of what is inside, and from there, the viewer buckles in as there is an examination of thought experiment of Schrodinger’s Cat, the multi-verse, and decoherence.

There are moments of sheer terror, the possibility of something more for one’s life, and horrific realizations. I loved how all of it played out, and love the way it ends.

And it is all the more believable because the characters are relatable, they aren’t superheroes, trained spies, or the like, they are just regular folk like you and I, and we can see ourselves and our reactions to the events playing out across the course of the night.

Would you go as far as some? I don’t know that I would, but if the opportunity was there, would you take it?

Coherence is smart, messes with your head, and ends on such a chilling note that you are left gobsmacked about what must happen next.

I like every performance in this film, there is an honesty to them, and each of them has their own motivations, their own fears and foibles, but it is Em who guides us through the night. And what a ride!

A small budget film that engages, makes you think, and is truly unnerving. This one is a winner, and is one of those films that I feel I should have been championing the moment it came out, but somehow it got by me. These are the types of films I really love, and I delight in the fact that there is so much to unpack in this one.

If you haven’t seen it, and want something to mess with your mind a bit… check out Coherence!

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