The talented Mr James Ward Byrkit directed Coherence. It was one of the most underrated Sci Fi Movies of 2017.
Most scenes are set in one house and mainly in a living room (apparently the director’s own living room), with some scenes just outside the house. I didn’t know this going in. It explains why within the first few minutes of watching, I thought, there is a reason why this is one of the most underrated sci fi movies. It is one of those really low budget jobs where the acting is stilted and it makes you feel uncomfortable.
Well, actually, no, not true. Byrkit gave out a bare bones script and bought on board actors with improvisational skills. And I was glad I continued watching and here’s why.
Comets And Cracked Mobiles
I do love a “people get together and over time some outside force shakes them up into a frenzy” type of movie. Whether it’s a group of friends (The Cabin In The Woods), a family (Await Further Instructions) or a bunch of strangers (The Escape Room). The eight friends start to gather at Mike (Nicholas Brendon) and Lee’s (Lorene Scafaria) house for a drinks and dinner party. By the way, if you keep looking at Mike and know his face but cannot remember from where, he was Xander from Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
Beth (Elizabeth Gracen) and Hugh (Hugo Armstrong) are already there when Em (Emily Baldoni) arrives and shows them her mobile screen which she says has suddenly cracked while she was in mid-sentence chatting to her boyfriend Kevin (Maury Sterling). Apparently, Miller’s Comet is passing over and she believes that is the reason. Kevin arrives shortly after. Off topic, but don’t you think Maury Sterling has a bit off a “Chandler Bing” look to him? He’s probably only got 2 nipples though 😉
It is through Em’s eyes that we see the movie unfold. Em obviously loves her Google search because she’s uncovered two past events that she is worried about in relation to what she believes is unfolding now with the Miller’s comet.
“The Man In My House Is Not My Husband”
Last to arrive are Amir (Alex Manugian) and Laurie (Lauren Maher), his new girlfriend. It is revealed early on that Laurie dated Kevin not so long ago.
Catching-up and chatting at the dinner table is in full swing when Em starts to explain what happened in 1908 after the big explosion in Russia called the Tunguska event. It flattened trees for miles, killed three people and was caused by an air burst from a meteoroid. The last sighting of Miller’s comet was in Finland (1923) and at the time a woman reported to the police about a strange man in her house, stating, “The man in my house is not my husband. I killed my husband yesterday.” After the event the towns folk in Finland felt “not quite right” and “not quite where they should be”. Em is sincerely concerned about all these connections she’s made but is met with a chortle chortle and some guffaw guffaws.
Hugh’s Physicist Brother
Catch-up conversations resume and suddenly the lights go out. Ooooooooooooo. Out come the candles and glow sticks. Yeah, I said glow sticks but no raves here guys. More importantly, blue glow sticks. You’ll come to realise why later on in the movie but no spoilers here. They go out to the street. They notice the whole street is dark apart from one house and they all look up to the comet flying over them, high in the sky.
They go back into the house. There’s a loud bang, bang, bang on the door and everyone jumps. The door is opened but no-one is there and then the lights come on! Mike has put the generator on. Phew!
Hugh wants to let his brother (the physicist) know what has happened as he had asked to know of any unusual occurrences during the night of the comet passing. But there is no internet, no mobile reception, nothing. But Hugh just has to let his brother know and decides he is going to visit the other house with the lights on and Amir goes with him.
The Box And The Cat
Hugh and Amir return to the house with a box from the other house. Mike opens it. Inside there are photos of the eight friends and a paddle bat. This is where is starts to get creepy and really weird, with one of the photos being taken of Amir that very night. Amir points out that the sweater he is wearing in the photo is new as he bought it to wear for tonight (you know, new girlfriend and all that).
They are super confused and want to know what the heck is going on. But how? There’s no Google, Yahoo or Wikipedia. What’s that thing that people used to do before the internet? Books! Oh yeah! Beth remembers the book that she was supposed to post to Hugh’s brother, it’s in a Jiffy bag in the car. They get the book, which is about quantum physics and called Gravitation: An introduction To Current Research.
They read some stuff from the book about decoherence and Schrödinger’s cat. Schrödinger’s cat was a thought experiment and a paradox. Simplified, there’s a cat and something that can kill it inside a sealed box. And until you open the box, the cat (in a sense) is both dead and alive. I found this statement online that helped me understand this a little better:
Paradox is that observation (=measurement) affects the outcome, so the outcome doesn’t exist until the measurement is made.
Of course, they still don’t know yet what is going on and neither do we.
Coherence: The Way Things Hang Together
Considering how short this movie is (an hour and 27 minutes more or less) it packs a heapful of drama, spookiness, science fiction and mystery. The characters felt like they had been real friends for a long time with talking over each other at the dinner table and sharing old hurts and happenings.
The director cleverly brings in existential questions about the nature of our existence and of reality and adds his own spin with an interesting and thoroughly entertaining story. He touches on parallel universes and quantum theories like Superposition and whether you like that stuff or not it doesn’t matter because you get absorbed in the characters and the choices they make trying to solve the mysterious situation they find themselves (or the other selves) in.
It may be one of the most underrated sci fi movies but if different timelines, doppelgängers and dark matter are your bag then this is your Prada or Michael Kors.
Add your comments on the movie below. Coherently please! 😂
Did this movie slip under your movie radar? Will you watch it?
If you watched it already, do you think it is underrated?
Respect to the Image Makers!