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Old 08-07-2015   #1
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Coherence

Really enjoyed Coherence. Low budget twisty-turny, paranoid SF thriller about multiple realities.

The Mask Behind the Face, Pendragon Press 2005
Shards of Dreams, Double Dragon eBooks 2004
Spare Parts, Rainfall Books 2003

Stuart Young\''s blog: http://stuartyoungwriter.blogspot.co.uk/
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Old 08-09-2015   #2
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Re: Coherence

A friend recommended it to me, and asked me not to read anything about it beforehand. Wasn't sure what to expect, and was pleasantly surprised. Clever little movie.

Trivia: one of the main characters is portrayed by Maury Sterling, who played John Doe in the adaptation of Ligotti's "The Frolic."
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Old 08-09-2015   #3
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Re: Coherence

Yes, the less you know going in the better.

I'd been putting off watching it for months as I was wary about a hyped up (in SF circles anyway) low budget film but Coherence delivers.

The Mask Behind the Face, Pendragon Press 2005
Shards of Dreams, Double Dragon eBooks 2004
Spare Parts, Rainfall Books 2003

Stuart Young\''s blog: http://stuartyoungwriter.blogspot.co.uk/
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Old 09-19-2015   #4
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Re: Coherence: Echoes of Aickman?


During the first half-hour of watching Coherence, it was not Aickman I was reminded of but rather The Exorcism, a play by Don Taylor, first aired as part of the BBC’s Dead of Night series in 1972 and which has the reputation of being “one of the most frightening pieces of TV drama ever shown”.

In 1992, The Exorcism also became a radio play. In it, a small group of friends meet at a recently renovated country cottage only to find themselves trapped in the house by a malign force as an impenetrable inky blackness smothers windows and doors.

This device was later used by David A. Riley in Lock-in which I found in the first of Charles Black’s series of Black Books of Horror (a series which has maintained a remarkably high standard over ten volumes and has been nominated for a British Fantasy Award). Lock-in has notes of Lovecraftian horror or, if you prefer, and as I commented in my own review at the time, W H Hodgson.

The friends who meet for a similar party in Coherence do so on the night when Miller’s Comet is due to pass across the night sky. There are suggestions that in the recent past comets have caused not only atmospheric and gravitational changes, but changes in people’s behaviour. One of the guests recalls a comet’s passing in 1923: “Yes, it was in Finland. It was actually crazy because it affected the people. After it passed they would get lost, they would end up in the wrong home, they would forget things, they wouldn’t really know where they were. And I remember reading about this one woman who called the police and said the man in my house is not my husband. And then the police came over and they said this is your husband. She said no, it’s not my husband. I killed my husband yesterday, that’s how I know it’s not him. They couldn’t arrest her because he was standing there in front of them.”

The first anomalous occurrence in Coherence is the shattering of a mobile phone, quickly followed by loss of power supply and internet access. The mood of the guests changes (possibly a little too quickly) from gaiety to panic, but as discussion turns to quantum mechanics and the well-known problem of Schrödinger's cat the film’s narrative is pushed relentlessly onward and upward and I was reminded irresistably of Aickman’s Larger than Oneself, where in a similar gathering – this time a weekend convention of people interested in the supernatural, the metaphysical and the occult – the talk turns to visitations of angels. Or possibly not angels...

David G Hartwell, in his prefatory note to this story in The Dark Descent 1: The Colour of Evil, comments that Larger than Oneself is "an interesting example of the blend of all three major streams of horror fiction"; which is, I think, precisely what sets Coherence apart from other mainstream films (despite it's labeling as science fiction): the successful meeting and blending of genres and the sense of disquiet it instills that remains after the film has ended.

Shot on a small budget, Coherence was written by Alex Manugian and James Ward Byrkit, the latter also directing this near-perfect independent gem. I’m not going to link the trailer here as I think it has one glaring spoiler embedded – I've attempted to give just some of the film's 'colour' here. I think it's a film that can be enjoyed more than once. It's not often that I view a film that leaves me with the sense of elation that this one did, the sense that someone has attempted and achieved something different, so I’ll be buying the DVD in hope that there's some director's commentary.
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Old 09-19-2015   #5
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Re: Coherence

The DVD has a commentary. I've not listened to it yet so I can't say how enlightening it is.

There's also a Making Of featurette.

The Mask Behind the Face, Pendragon Press 2005
Shards of Dreams, Double Dragon eBooks 2004
Spare Parts, Rainfall Books 2003

Stuart Young\''s blog: http://stuartyoungwriter.blogspot.co.uk/
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Old 09-19-2015   #6
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Re: Coherence

Quote Originally Posted by Stu View Post
The DVD has a commentary. I've not listened to it yet so I can't say how enlightening it is.

There's also a Making Of featurette.
Thanks, Stu',

I've just ordered the DVD. These days I watch seemingly countless films online, and that was true of Coherence. But when I find something that stands out from the rest, I tend to get the "real thing" for my shelves. And any insight I can get into the filmmakers motivation is definitely a plus.

Rog
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