Coherence is a testament to how much can be achieved with only a great idea and a group of talented actors. Made on a tiny budget with no special effects and only one location, the film follows a group of friends attending a dinner party to mark the passage of a comet close to earth however, after a sudden power cut, events take an eerie turn. To reveal more would be to do the film a disservice, as it is one of the most intriguing puzzle films of recent years. Taking a sci-fi concept as its core, it slowly reveals clues about the nature of its mystery with the audience (like the characters) always two steps behind the intricate plot. It surprises at every turn and manages to balance its complexity with a thriller sensibility keeping it compelling throughout.
The filmmakers are keenly aware that even the most meticulously constructed puzzle can fall apart without interesting characters and so each of the ensemble cast is given a tangible back-story helping to explain choices they make throughout. The low profile cast (the most prominent of which played Xander on Buffy the Vampire Slayer) consistently deliver; creating believable improvised dialogue, selling the claustrophobia of the films suburban house setting and portraying subtle scene-to-scene differences in character that become increasingly essential as the plot develops.
Coherence is creepy without ever resorting to cheap scare tactics with the mood sustained right up until the mind-bending finale. As the credits roll you’ll want to do two things: draw a diagram of the events of the movie and watch it again immediately. Not bad for no-budget filmmaking.
Images: Metrodome Distribution