Review by Sean Boelman
January has a notorious reputation among cinephiles as a dumping ground, and so it is not uncommon to see some of the worst films of the year in its first month. Alas, Shattered does not break that curse, a generic and often laughable erotic thriller absolutely squandering the talents (or lack thereof) of all involved.
The movie follows a rich man who finds himself attracted to a seductive and mysterious woman whose grip on his life begins to tighten after he gets injured. It’s a slightly sexier and abundantly dumber version of Misery, and while it’s nearly entertaining in a so-bad-it’s-funny way, its twists and turns are nearly embarrassing.
With a runtime just at ninety minutes, the pacing here is breakneck, but that’s not always a good thing. Character motivations make no sense and there isn’t enough time to explore them, a lot of the most suspenseful scenes feel rushed, and there’s just a generally chaotic aura to the whole affair. It’s disorienting in a way comparable to Serenity.
Furthermore, the film can’t seem to pick a side. On one hand, it seems to be saying eat the rich, which, yes absolutely. But then it makes us pity the character as a good man with love in his heart, and one has to wonder what the movie even has to say. And ultimately, finding any meaning behind this beyond the average erotic thriller stuff is futile.
Lilly Krug gives a performance that is an early contender for the worst of the year. Whether it is due to bad direction, stilted dialogue, or the fact that she just isn’t very good, she’s just awful here. Even worse is the fact that she has absolutely no chemistry with Cameron Monaghan, who is at least trying, to his credit.
And then there is the supporting cast. John Malkovich is doing something that can hardly be explained because it is so off-the-walls. That said, he’s at least pretty successful at being the comedic relief, intended or not. And Frank Grillo is yet again the best part of an otherwise horrible film, being the only part here that is even remotely menacing.
Much like the script, the movie is torn between being trashy and elegant, and ends up feeling worthless in its attempts. It’s clear that the film is trying to create a contrast between the modern architecture of the house and the blunt brutality of the violence, but even that is giving it a bit too much credit.
Shattered has some entertainment value, albeit not in the way that the filmmakers seemed to intend. It’s definitely at home with its January release date, where the little bit of attention it gets will soon fade.
Shattered is now in theaters and on VOD.
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