Directed by: Rob W. King
Starring: Christina Ricci, John Cusack, Brendan Fletcher
WRITTEN BY HUNTER WILLIAMS
In 2018, it’s only fitting that a couple’s search for “security and serenity” is roadblocked. ‘Distorted’ demonstrates that best out of all of its failures. Lauren Curran (Christina Ricci) with her boyfriend, Russell Curran (Brendan Fletcher), move into a technologically advanced high-rise in the promise of security and serenity. After recurrent disturbances throughout their stay, Lauren begins to suspect there’s more to their new home than what meets the eye.
The slick and ambiguous opening holds promise in what’s to come, but any gesture toward nuance fall flat in the face of its own cliche premise. Rob W. King follows his characters from a distance, never detailing Lauren or Russell’s past beyond harsh jump cuts that reveal nothing of significance until the very end. This distorted ambiguity serves as a good scare for the opening set up as the couple learns of their new home, but once it becomes the backbone of Lauren’s paranoia, ‘Distorted‘ *literally* becomes too distorted to be comprehensible.
Lauren notices the details others don’t: the hissing of her new apartment, the intense flashes often felt in isolation and the creepy stares from other residents; her reality is, again, distorted. The answer to her paranoia doesn’t have a single answer, but at least one of them is comprehensible. The dire global ramifications of what she’s to discover are light enough to throw on John Cusack’s shoulders for a few short minutes (these are also a few really bad minutes) but *definitely* not light enough to try and make anything of it in under 90 minutes. Perhaps if the production value matched the writing muscle necessary to helm such an ambitious concept, the story may have stuck the landing.
It’s a shame, too. Christina Ricci was a knockout in the 90’s and John Cusack keeps trying despite the wrong projects being handed to him. But if there’s one thing ‘Distorted‘ managed to get right, it’s that in North America, those that are safe are the most vulnerable.