Perception, co-written and directed by Ilana Rein, is a new supernatural thriller film that will draw you in with its unique concept. A rare high-concept B-movie that actually works pretty well, this is a surprisingly enjoyable movie that will likely be well-received by the late night crowd.
The film follows a small-time psychic who offers a land developer an unorthodox way to reconnect with his dead wife. If you’ve ever seen a movie featuring or about psychics, you know that something is destined to go majorly wrong, and that is the case in this movie. However, this film does a very good job of making the build-up to the chaos extremely interesting and compelling.
Although it does take a bit of time for the movie to get moving, once you get wrapped up into the mystery element of the story, it becomes a very enjoyable, if somewhat predictable, B-movie thriller. All of the twists and turns that this film has in store are telegraphed from the beginning, but again, the way it gets to them is the schlocky fun promised by the premise.
This predictability does pose a significant obstacle for the movie’s attempts to build suspense, but the filmmakers overcome this challenge by using a nonlinear storyline. A nonlinear narrative is one of the trickiest things to pull off without feeling gimmicky, and this film somehow manages to do it. Cutting between the protagonist’s experiences in the past and his reactions in the present is used effectively to create tension.
Another reason why the movie works so well is that you become invested in the characters. The two leads in the film, the land developer and the psychic, are both very sympathetic characters. Obviously, the main reason because of which we can connect with the land developer is his grief for his wife. His actions, however drastic, feel somewhat justified because of this. The psychic, on the other hand, is developed through her relationship with her family.
Wes Ramsey is the lead of the movie and he does a good enough job in his role. He does get a bit over-the-top and hammy at times, particularly towards the end of the film, but his charisma is a big part of what draws you into the movie early on. Meera Rohit Kumbhiani is the real standout in the cast, though, giving a multi-layered and nuanced performance.
On a technical level, the film is mostly fine. Of course, the movie could have spared to be a bit more visually ambitious, particularly for a film with supernatural elements, but it still works fine as is. The most impressive part of the visuals is the movie’s use of art. Paintings play a large part in the story, so you would expect nothing less. The production designers did a great job of utilizing these paintings.
For the most part, Perception is a pretty entertaining film. Although it does have its fair share of issues and likely doesn’t hold up under intense scrutiny, it is much better than a majority of other supernatural thrillers that come out nowadays.
Perception is now available on VOD.