I am truly angry that no one told me about this bizarre lesbian musician psychological revenge horror movie before I watched it. It has everything I love in a horror movie. Queer characters? Check. Interesting structure? Check. Twisty as hell? Check. The Perfection lived up to its name, in my opinion.
The cellos are coming to get you, Barbara
This movie follows Charlotte Wilmore, a former cello prodigy who had to drop out of the prestigious Bachoff Music Academy to take care of her sick mother. After her mother’s death, she reconnects with Anton, the headmaster of the school, and joins him in China, where he is recruiting new students. There, she meets Elizabeth, the newest prodigy who has replaced her, and they hook up. On their way to a different city, Elizabeth gets really sick, vomiting bugs and seeing them crawl under the skin of her arm.
When Charlotte produces an axe and tells Lizzie to chop off her own hand, we have the movie’s first twist. Charlotte gave Lizzie her mother’s medication, which causes psychotic hallucinations. It’s a revenge movie, right? Nope! It turns out, the Bachoff Academy is a front for pedophilia and abuse, and Lizzie is a brainwashed student. Cut to later, when Lizzie has been kicked out of Bachoff. She kidnaps Charlotte and brings her back to the school.
Anton forces Charlotte to play a song. If she makes one mistake, he will prey on the newest student, a little girl. Even though she plays perfectly, it doesn’t matter. He is still going to abuse the girl and torture Charlotte. As Anton leaves Charlotte with Lizzie and the other two teachers, we have the next twist. Charlotte and Lizzie have been working together this whole time! They poison the teachers and cut off all of Anton’s limbs. The movie ends with Charlotte and Lizzie playing the cello together as a disembodied Anton is forced to watch.
A girl’s best friend is her cello
I love how The Perfection plays with point of view. The movie is divided into four acts, and each one begins with a rewind of what we’ve already seen, then a redux of it from a different perspective. This allowed the viewer to get in all the characters’ heads and really fleshed them out. Personally, I really enjoyed seeing a relationship between two women at the heart of the movie rather than them hating each other, which a lazier film might have done. The horrific story also explores cycles of abuse and those who enable it or ignore it. One thing I didn’t like was the effects, which were not very well done, and the unbelievability of Charlotte’s plan. Ultimately, though, the movie is absolutely crazy, very original, and touches on important themes.
I came here to play cello and kick ass…and I’m all done with my cello sonata
This movie was badass and wickedly funny in the best way. I didn’t realize how cathartic it would be to see a rapist get butchered, but it was. None of the female characters were two-dimensional and all of them were compelling, which is unfortunately not common in horror. Overall, I think this movie uses horror as a way of commenting on modern issues like sexism and institutionalized abuse. It might not be for everyone, but I definitely recommend giving it a try.(4 / 5)