Director: Steven Shainberg
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Peter Stormare, Michael Chiklis, Kerry Bishé, Lesley Manville, Ari Millen
Runtime: 1 hr 42 mins
Rating: PG13 (Disturbing Scenes and Coarse Languagee)
Released By: Shaw
Opening Day: 2 March 2017
Synopsis: Renee Morgan (Noomi Rapace), a single mom who lives with her twelve-year-old son Evan in a quiet suburban home, is terrified of spiders. Unbeknownst to both, their every move is being observed. While running her daily errands her car breaks down and she is violently kidnapped by a group of strangers. About 24 hours later, in an anonymous laboratory, she is tied up and questioned about her medical history, including her great fear of spiders. Soon her captors explain to her that with her genetic abnormality can potentially allow her to RUPTURE in which her own alien nature can be released. Through the experience of one’s deepest fear (in Renee’s case spiders) causes this transforming her into her true self.
‘Rupture’ may bill itself as science-fiction, but there is little science or fiction in this maddeningly silly tale. The title itself refers to a supposed transformation engineered by members of a cult, who believe that putting people at the centre of their fears causes their nervous system to ‘rupture’ and morph into a higher order of being. But you would not know that until almost at the end; indeed, for most of the time, all we see is Noomi Rapace’s single mum Renee held in captivity by a sinister cohort led by Michael Chiklis, British actress Lesley Manville and Hollywood’s go-to baddie Peter Stormare. Drugged to the eyeballs and kidnapped one day when she stops by the side of the road to investigate a mysterious blowout, Renee is strapped into a gurney, pumped with a strange red chemical from time to time, and exposed to the one thing she fears the most – spiders.
Not surprisingly, ‘Rupture’ unfolds singularly from Renee’s perspective – beginning from her quaint suburban home where she lives with her teenage son Evan (Percy Hynes White), to her ex-husband’s house where she drops Evan off before going skydiving, to her abduction midway during her ensuing drive, to her horror as she sees other prisoners who are held in the same abandoned office building turned makeshift medical facility, and last but not least to her escape attempt crawling through the building’s overhead ventilation shafts and charging down corridor after corridor to find a way out. Oh yes, despite a strong supporting cast, it is Rapace’s show through and through, playing out like a straight-out survivalist thriller as she tries to break free using no more than a penknife she happens to have on her and her wits before she is transformed or drugged to death, whichever comes first.
Renee’s own confusion over her circumstances is ours too, and she deserves credit for carrying the movie on her trademark mix of vulnerability and steel. Yet, although she eventually finds closure at the end of the one-and-a-half hours, the same cannot be said of us. Never mind that it takes a slow-burn approach to setting itself up, what truly irks is how underwhelming and ultimately pointless that whole build-up is. What is her ‘rupture’ for? Why do these people want her to ‘rupture’ in the first place? How does her ‘rupture’ change her or the rest of her captors? None of these questions are answered adequately, if at all, leaving one to wonder what the trouble was for. Yes, even if we are willing to overlook the obvious plot contrivances and the logical loopholes in between, the deeply unsatisfactory ending simply leaves one feeling underwhelmed, or worse exasperated.
Sans gratifying closure, what seemed to be an intriguing premise turns out to be a waste of a good set-up, and like we said at the start, neither good science nor fiction. That ‘Rupture’ is Steven Shainberg’s first film in a decade (since the fascinating BDSM satire ‘Secretary’ and the ambitious but flawed ‘Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus’) makes it even more disappointing, but the blame largely lies with the awful scripting by Brian Nelson (of ‘Hard Candy’ and ’30 Days of Night’ fame), who has disguised his exercise in torture-porn exploitation horror as low-rent science-fiction. Before you ‘rupture’ in disappointment or even disgust, let us warn you to stay away from this; oh yes, you’ll be much better off waiting for the next ‘Alien’ instalment this summer than letting ‘Rupture’ suck you into a vortex of curiosity, boredom and finally frustration.
(A slow-burn exploitation horror that builds to nothing, this low-rent science-fiction is not even worthwhile as Saturday night home viewing)
Review by Gabriel Chong