Coherence Review: A Dark and Suspenseful Sci-Fi Gem Worth Watching

30 April 2023
Coherence is a 2013 science fiction thriller directed by James Ward Byrkit. The low-budget film follows a group of friends who gather for a dinner party on the same night that a comet is passing overhead. As strange events begin to occur, the group must navigate their way through a series of increasingly bizarre and unsettling occurrences. 

Coherence is a unique and intriguing film that blends science fiction with psychological horror to create a captivating and suspenseful experience.

The low budget film begins with Emily (Emily Foxler) and Kevin (Maury Sterling) driving to a dinner party hosted by their friends. As the night goes on, strange things start to happen, including power outages, broken cell phones, and objects disappearing. 

The group soon realizes that they are experiencing parallel realities, and their doppelgangers from other universes are also attending the same dinner party. 

As the group struggles to make sense of the situation, tensions rise, and secrets are revealed.

coherence film poster

Coherence's plot is a masterclass in tension-building and suspense. Byrkit expertly weaves together different timelines and realities, creating a coherent and engaging story that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. 

The film's execution is top-notch, and an audience that is paying attention is never left confused or lost.

The film's use of foreshadowing and subtle hints adds depth and complexity to the story, making it a standout in the science fiction genre.

The film's main characters are Emily, Kevin, Mike (Nicholas Brendon), Laurie (Lauren Maher), Lee (Lorene Scafaria), Hugh (Hugo Armstrong), Amir (Alex Manugian), and Beth (Elizabeth Gracen). Each character has their own unique motivations and secrets, and the film does an excellent job of exploring their relationships and conflicts. The character development is subtle but effective, and the audience is left with a satisfying sense of closure.

Byrkit's direction is superb, and his use of handheld cameras and natural lighting adds a sense of realism and urgency to the film. The pacing is excellent, and the film's editing is seamless. Byrkit's decision to film the movie in only five days with minimal rehearsal adds to the film's improvisational tone and gives the actors room to explore their characters.

The film's cinematography is gritty and realistic, with a muted color palette that reflects the film's dark and tense atmosphere. Byrkit's use of close-ups and Dutch angles adds to the film's sense of unease and disorientation. The film's lighting is minimal, with most scenes lit by natural sources such as candles and flashlights, creating an intimate and claustrophobic feeling.

The film's musical score and sound design are minimalistic, with most of the sound coming from the characters' conversations and the ambient noises of the house. The music that is present is subtle and atmospheric, adding to the film's tension and sense of unease.

Coherence explores themes of identity, free will, and the butterfly effect. The film's exploration of parallel realities and the consequences of small decisions adds depth and complexity to the story. The film also touches on the idea of facing one's fears and accepting the consequences of one's actions.

Here's some trivia about Coherence

1. The actors in the movie were given only a small paragraph, which only they could see, instead of a script. This helped create a natural flow of the story and genuine reactions among the actors.

2. The movie was made on a budget of just $50,000 and shot over five nights in a single location with largely improvised dialogues.

3. Alex Manugian, who plays Amir, is also the co-writer of the movie. He helped guide scenes as a mole if the actors went astray.

4. The set had only five crew members - two sound guys, the director of photography, the director, and the producer, Lene Bausager.

5. Emily Baldoni, who plays Em, was given a note to not let Kevin (Maury Sterling) leave the house while his note was to leave, during the filming of a particular scene. This is to ensure tension occurs between the characters. 

6. The director, James Ward Byrkit, used his own house as the setting for the movie. His wife agreed to it as long as he could shoot the movie in just five days, as she was 8-and-a-half months pregnant and wanted a home birth.

7. During the filming of a particular scene where the neighborhood was supposed to look completely dark, a Snickers commercial was being filmed in the same neighborhood, which used huge lights and hundreds of people.

8. Three rental cars were used for breaking the glass in the movie. The windows were replaced before the cars were returned.

9. The story of the movie took a year to write.

10. The cameras in the movie were shaky to give the actors the freedom to move around.

11. The filmmakers spent $8,000 on a wig that matched Lorene Scafaria's hair color, as she had changed her hair during the reshooting of some scenes.

12. The filmmakers do not reveal how the comet in the movie was filmed, but it was a practical effect.

13. The phone conversation at the beginning of the movie was recorded with both sides of the conversation together, instead of adding the other side later.

14. There were only two cameras used throughout the filming of the movie, except during the dinner scene, which had one additional camera.

15. The idea for the story came from wanting to tell a story that takes place only in one room.


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

At The Astromech, you can expect to find a variety of articles, reviews, and analysis related to science fiction, including books, movies, TV, and games.
From exploring the latest news and theories to discussing the classics, I aim to provide entertaining and informative content for all fans of the genre.

Whether you are a die-hard Star Trek fan or simply curious about the world of science fiction, The Astromech has something for everyone. So, sit back, relax, and join me on this journey through the stars!
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