I love a good thriller. It’s the film version of a magic trick. Misdirection. Deception. Look over here, so you don’t see what’s going on over there. It’s like cinematic sleight of hand. But, recently there’s been a problem in the film industry: the thrillers themselves have done the disappearing act.
For decades there were three general types of films: big blockbusters, small indie films and mid-budget adult contemporary films.
Over the past 20 years with the dominance of Marvel, Disney, and Star Wars properties, it’s become a world of sequels, prequels and reboots and small arthouse films. Those mid-budget thrillers aimed at adult audiences have virtually disappeared.
Enter Netflix. The streaming service that was originally known for television is now in the business of making films, and they’ve revived the mid-budget thriller along the way.
Fractured, a new thriller starring Sam Worthington, will debut on Netflix on October 11. I had a chance to see it at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas last month.
As the film opens, Ray and Joanne are heading home from Thanksgiving. They make a pit stop at a gas station. When their daughter, Peri, is injured at a construction site next door, Ray takes a blow to the head, trying to prevent his daughter’s fall.
The accident leaves Ray a little disoriented and Peri with a possible broken arm. They head to a local hospital where Joanne, Peri and an orderly head off for tests while Ray deals with financial details.
And Ray’s family never returns. When he checks on them, there’s no record of their arrival. Hospital personnel tell him that he came in for his head injury. Alone. Hmmm. All is clearly not as it seems. Like a good magic trick.
The amount that you enjoy Fractured may depend on how many thrillers you’ve seen over the years. There’s a moment in the opening act of the film where I could clearly see behind the curtain, the magic trick was revealed for me. And it’s hard to regain my interest when the spell is broken. You may not pick up on the clue like I did, and you may enjoy the film more as a result.
I found Fractured to be “fine”. It’s not bad, but it’s not particularly good. It tries to be a paranoid, conspiracy thriller with an issue about the reliability of its narrator, but I found it too predictable to be truly effective. You may disagree. I give Fractured 2 out of 5 popcorn buckets.
Anytime I give a film a bad or mediocre review, I like to point out some other films for you to consider. So, since we’re on the subject of mid-budget thrillers on Netflix, I recommend you check out Point Blank from director Joe Lynch or if you prefer your thrillers with a sci-fi twist, you should check out In the Shadow of the Moon that hit Netflix on September 27th.