A new thriller from Netflix urges its viewers to forget perfection.
“The Perfection,” a thriller-horror hybrid by director and writer Richard Shepard (“Dom Hemingway”), released to the streaming service on May 29, invites Allison Williams (“Get Out”) to once again show off her manipulative side.
Williams stars as Charlotte Willmore, a gifted cellist who excelled at Bachoff, a fictional music school, before she was forced to return home and care for her terminally ill mother.
The film begins with an abrupt, jarring close-up shot of Charlotte’s dead mother, which works to set the creepy tone of the entire film, and allows Charlotte to return to the cello.
Unfortunately, the opening shot of the film is also the most frightening. Every other scene underperforms in comparison.
After her mother’s death, Charlotte calls the school’s owners, husband and wife duo Anton and Paloma, portrayed by Steven Weber (“Wings”) and Alaina Huffman (“Supernatural”), respectively, and asks to accompany them in Shanghai and assist in their selection of new, promising music students.
She arrives in Shanghai with the Bachoff crew, and is bemused to meet Lizzie (Logan Browning, “Dear White People”), who has replaced her as Anton’s star pupil.
The two musicians share small talks, compliment one another and quickly develop a close connection. Their night of drinking ends at Lizzie’s hotel room, where they have sex and Charlotte then stays the night.
The next day, Lizzie wakes up hungover. Charlotte offers her ibuprofen and some alcohol — “hair of the dog,” she says — to cure her ailments before the two begin a day of adventuring together in China.
The horror truly begins when Lizzie’s sickness takes a turn for the worse.
Lizzie and Charlotte hitch a ride in a visibly dirty and rundown school bus somewhere in rural China — “the middle of nowhere,” the two keep repeating — when Lizzie grows sicker and sicker.
This scene is a pivotal moment in the plot of the film, as the true conflict begins, and it’s also meant to horrify its viewers.
To state it vaguely, Lizzie’s sickness features digestive issues, bodily fluids, maggots and a meat cleaver.
The bus scene is the first of many “scary” scenes in the film that are, unfortunately, more funny than terrifying due to a plethora of awkward lines and forced interactions among characters.
“The Perfection” tries really hard to be a horror film, and it certainly contains all the blood, guts and gore that is usually required of the genre, but its presentation of these tropes is far from perfect.
The maggots, the meat cleaver and the cliché foreign setting all work together to form such an odd situation that is so farfetched and so weird that it cannot possibly scare viewers.
Following the bus scene, viewers learn horrid details about Charlotte, Lizzie and Bachoff’s backstory, all of which are meant to leave audience members on the edge of their seat in wonder and fright.
Instead, “The Perfection” just makes viewers laugh. It’s definitely not perfect, it’s not that scary and, overall, it’s just not a standout Netflix film.
But if you like watching Williams, Browning and a healthy amount of vomit, give it a watch if you’re bored — but only if there’s nothing else to stream.