If your interest in watching psychologically twisted films cannot compete with your curiosity for reading late-night Reddit theories about their endings -- looking at you, Tenet fans -- I have a request.
Please stop endlessly scrolling on whatever streaming service you've been looking at, and grab your Prime account and watch 2013's low-budget sci-fi film Coherence ASAP -- it'll be free for subscribers, right now. I'm sure. I just watched it for the fourth time.
The basic premise of Coherence is fairly straightforward. A comet is scheduled to land over the town on the same night. A few friends have a dinner party. It begins as many indie films do, with a tumultuous love story, tension between exes, and witty exchange.
The power goes out. It's all very strange. Act two.
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Inexplicable events occur while the group of characters scramble to regain the power. Nothing is as it had seemed. Some start to doubt where they are, while others are more concerned about who they really are. This isn't a film about longtime friends' small talk. It's a tale of them coming face-to-face with the terrifying truth of their reality.
If I divulge any more, I'd be risking massive spoilers for the shocking revelations that were revealed in the film. I can assure you, however, that the onscreen confusion is strong enough to make you question your own sanity.
I'm only mildly exaggerating.
The next hour or so is filled with plot twists that rival those of Shutter Island in 2010. The film also cleverly alludes to scientific -- and rather philosophical -- concepts that have probably crossed the mind of the late Stephen Hawking.
Coherence brings together the social, personal, and existential consequences that would result from a complex theory of space and time with resounding mystery. Coherence is arguably one of the most mind-bending sci-fi films I have ever seen.
And trust me, I've gone through several sci-fi IMDB lists, watching them in order.
Perhaps I may point out that Coherence, which sometimes resembles a horror film, was made with merely $50,000 and shot in just five days. Gravity, Alfonso Cuarn's 2013 film, for instance, was funded by $100 million.
I've recently been binge-watching low-budget sci-fi movies because I have found that what these films lack in theatrics, they overcompensate for in story. Shoutout to Operation Avalanche (2016), Another Earth (2011), and Primer (2004).
Coherence, on the other hand, was the film that launched my journey.
Interstellar may have offered the striking image of a giant, iconic wave that almost wipes out the main characters to the tune of Hans Zimmer. The Martian's portrayal of an arid Mars amid haze may have grabbed your attention. The first time you cried over a shadowy alien using inky sign language was probably in Arrival.
But Coherence tells the story of a group of friends who are faced with reality, navigating the dangerous twists that reality can take -- without the aid of CGI, from only one location, and with only the sounds of the actors' voices.
James Ward Byrkit even decided to forego a script for the quietly experimental film. "Every day, instead of getting a script, the actors would receive dozens of notes for their individual character, whether it was based on 'backstory' or background information about their motivations," he told IndieWire.
Because the actors were not told how the story unfolds, any tension and puzzlement in their performances are genuine. The film's chaotic unravelling took place during filming.
Coherence will keep you guessing along with the actors, elicit audible gasps, and make you feel like a sci-fi spy. You may well feel chills as previously unreceived clues and nuances slowly fade over you hours after the credits roll.
I had goosebumps just thinking about that one scene. You'll be able to tell which one to choose.