Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Devlin's Domain - Coherence

Recently I've been obsessing over the Mandela Effect and it's different theories, so this week's installment is inspired by that. Unless of course, you are in an alternate timeline, then for you this will be a review of Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. For those of you who are fortunate enough to be reading the Coherence review but don't have any idea what the Mandela Effect is, then keep reading cause it's gonna get weird. It's always weird in Devlin's Domain.

The term Mandela Effect originated when Nelson Mandela died in 2013, but many people shared a memory of him dying in prison in the late 80s. This seems to be the event that triggered a collective misremembering of various facts and events. I've experienced a number of them myself. Some things, like logos or quotes, can be shaken off as just bad memory. I remember Chick-fil-a as Chic-fil-a and Cruella De Vil as Cruella DeVille even though they have been spelled a totally different way since they existed. The one that bugs me the most is a movie that never existed called Shazaam and starring Sinbad as a genie. Yes, I remember Kazaam with Shaq and I'm not getting them confused. A movie has seemingly vanished from history, but not from the memory's of a lot of people.

It's a strange phenomenon with a simple explanation that not many people are satisfied with. It would be easy to just say that human memory is unreliable and these are all just simple mistakes, except that everyone is misremembering things the same way. It's a collective memory, which makes things a bit more bizarre. Of course people being eager to find an explanation for this crazy stuff have constructed their own theories and collected multiple examples of the Effect. One of the most accepted crazy theories is that there has been some time and/or dimensional tampering done by CERN. CERN being the scientists smashing atoms and making black holes deep underneath Switzerland.

There has been some talk by scientists about the existence of alternate dimensions and realities outside of our own. This has lead a lot of people to jump to the conclusion that somehow our reality has crossed over with another in some way. In fact, some believe that they may have even traded places with someone in another reality. Seems to me that being dimensionally misplaced would come as a hell of a shock and affect more than brand logos, but what do I know. I don't believe anything without absolute proof, but I'm open to all possibilities and really like ridiculous ones. For those of us who have experienced this strangeness, perhaps our memories will eventually reach...


 This is a no budget movie with a cast of eight and is confined to a house for the most part. Don't be fooled though, because the makers of this film did some magic with the little they had. Basically four couples meet for dinner at a house in Los Angeles on the same night that a comet is supposed to be passing through. Maybe this was called Night of the Comet in another reality. Anyway, Emily is our lead character among the eight characters at the dinner. The movie starts with the guests arriving one couple at a time with some party dialogue to to flesh out who's who and  what they're about.

It doesn't take long for somebody to bring up the fact that the comet will be passing that night. Hugh has a brother who is a scientist so he's automatically an expert on comets. Emily is the main character so she's automatically an expert on comets. They exchange historical stories over dinner about how comets have been responsible for strange behavior in people. They talk about how people would get lost or go crazy. There's one story about a woman who called the police claiming her husband wasn't her husband because she had killed her husband the day before. This part kind of bothered me. I know I'm stereotyping, but I just don't see a group of yuppies wearing scarves and drinking wine having this conversation. The dialogue here is unnatural for the characters even though it's naturally delivered. It's clearly been inserted to give some idea of what's about to happen and why. It also gives the group a fighting chance instead of being totally clueless through this whole ordeal.

Over the course of dinner and conversation the power goes out which stirs a panic. They take a look outside and notice every light is out on the street except for one house up the road. Hugh and Amir decide to walk up to the house to ask to use their phone, because the story can't progress unless they leave the house. When they return Hugh claims to have looked in the window and saw a dinner set for eight people exactly like the house they were in. They grabbed a lock box they found and managed to get it open, which reveals a ping pong paddle an pictures of all of them with numbers on the back of each one. They try to make out what the pictures and numbers mean and realize that some of the pictures were taken that night, but without their knowledge. This begins a slow meltdown of everyone in the house.

Hugh decides to write a note to leave on the door of the other house asking to use their phone. As he's writing the note there's a loud bang on the door. When they open it there's a note exactly like the one he was writing. Everybody is getting really freaked out by now. They open a box of blue glow sticks to wear outside to help them see. As they're walking down the street Emily spots another group of people wearing red glow sticks on the other side of the street. Both groups run away from each other. Now they've pretty much established that they have dopplegangers from another dimension.

Everyone momentarily turns on Hugh's wife, Beth, who they find out was giving semi hallucinogenic drugs to Amir's wife, Laurie. For a minute they think she may have put the drug in their food, but she aggressively denies it and Hugh defends her as well. They're hoping for any other explanation other than the comet forming an interdimensional rift that may leave them vulnerable to evil versions of themselves. Hugh is determined to recover a book that he has about comets from the other house. He hopes to get some further insight about what the hell is going on and how to deal with it. In this situation I would probably just pull up to a tall frosty pint and wait for the whole thing to blow over. I would at least stay inside the house.

As the film progresses there is a whole lot of personal turmoil revealed about each person. There are troubled relationships, affairs revealed, and on top of that there are multiple possibilities of those scenarios all existing at the same time as the comet passes. Then there's a mistrust between friends because they keep leaving and coming back and nobody knows if they're the friends from their reality or a different one. It's rather incoherent ironically, until the end. It's a lot easier to watch than it is to explain, so do yourself a favor and watch this damn movie. It's on Amazon Prime as of this writing, so if you have that service go ahead and jump on it.

I've saved a lot of the twist and turns that are left in the film. So if you're wondering what the box of pictures and the paddle mean you know what to do. There isn't much star power in the film, but you may recognize Nicholas Brendan aka Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer as the progressively drunk Mike. Also, Elizabeth Gracen aka Amanda from Highlander the Series is still sporting the same haircut from the 90s as Beth. The movie was mostly dialogue driven and everyone did a great job of making the conversations seem realistic. They were underreacting a little bit when it came to coping with the reality, I should say multiple realities, of the situation. That's really just nitpicking though.

IMDB score on this one is 7.2, which I will raise to an 8. I may watch this a few more times just to see if there are pieces to this puzzle I may have missed. It's truly impressive that they managed to make a quality sci-fi flick with as little as they had. I don't recall one single special effects scene, at least not in my timeline. I can't recommend this one enough, so go watch it.

We're only a few weeks away from wrapping this year up. We here at Needless Things will be doing some year end awards toward the end of the month, so be sure to keep an eye out for that. That's gonna wrap it up for this week. See you all next time in Devlin's Domain.

About Me: I have a couple of different aliases, but for this column I will use my middle name. I am Devlin and I currently reside in Atlanta, GA. 33 years of age and still feeling immortal. Former Rockstar, current Pro Wrestler and hell, I'm still a Rockstar at heart. I got my first taste of obscure cinema when I was about 8 years old. My Dad would take us to the video store every weekend to stock up on classic horror films to watch on his projector. They were mostly harmless, PG-rated horror films like the great Universal monster movies. Then one night he rented a movie for himself to watch after we had gone to bed. I was so intrigued by this film that I wasn't allowed to see. I begged and begged and he eventually caved. That night I was exposed to a film unlike anything I had seen before. Ever since that night I wanted to find more films that gave me that same sensation. I wanted to feel shock and disgust. I found my place in the Horror aisle. The film I watched was Faces of Death. Thanks

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