But there’s no getting around the fact that several of the lead performances are stiff to the point of amateurishness (at least until the plot gets cooking about halfway through, and everyone gets to suffer, sweat, bleed and scream). And the script manages to be too much and not enough, gesturing clumsily in the direction of what the critic Anne Billson calls the Preposterous Thriller, while at the same time shoehorning in bits of social critique about the haves and have-nots that make “Shattered” come off as the movie “Parasite” could have been, were it possible to repeatedly drop a film on its head.
“Shattered” is a twist-driven film. But the twists don’t follow real-world logic. Nor do they embrace the dream-world anti-logic of great psychosexual thrillers like “Fatal Attraction,” “Body Double,” “Basic Instinct” or the late-in-the-game classic “Gone Girl,” the kinds of pictures where absurdities and outrages pile up to the point where the audience starts giggling with unhinged delight. Suffice to say that if you’re still interested in the movie, you should check out of this review now.
The man, Chris Decker (Cameron Monaghan of the American remake of “Shameless”) is a tech entrepreneur who recently sold his company for many millions of dollars. He has a wife (Sasha Luss) and daughter (Ridley Bateman) from whom he’s about to be separated by divorce. He lives in the aforementioned dream house, which looks down on the plebes in town like the home of the tycoon in Akira Kurosawa’s far more politically cogent “High and Low.” The young woman, who calls her herself Sky (Lily Krug), lives in a residential motel run by an affable dirtbag named Ronald (John Malkovich, who gives one of the film’s only two memorable performances) and has a self-destructive roommate (Ash Santo’s Lisa) whom she supposedly goes home with Chris to escape.
What ensues is a story that seesaws between exuberant nonsense and a sort of half-assed sociopolitical riff, mixing resentment of amoral techno-fascist douchebros, fascination with their show-off houses, and a slightly pervy obsession with model-actress-whatever types who might not, factually speaking, be teetering on the edge of the age of legal consent, but are made up and costumed to evoke a barely pubescent anime waif, or Lolita. Krug and Monaghan, I’m sorry to say, are terrible in this, though it’s hard to blame them entirely or even partially, given the lumpiness of the script and the director’s seeming incapability of steering into the skid and producing a glorious wreck of a movie, the kind audiences cheer lustily even though they know it’s dumb.