Distorted is one of those films with lots of weird stuff going on to the point where as soon as the film begins, Lauren (Christina Ricci) is a gibbering wreck for reasons not yet explained, and which I won’t spoil as it’s a good while before that happens.
I was almost the same since in a bid to make her feel safe, husband Russell (Brendan Fletcher) suggests they move into a new, modern building full of CCTV – a bit like Sliver but without the sexy parties. However, as they approached it and Russell exclaimed, “Wow, look at this place”, I knew he wasn’t looking at anything since their car could not have been more obvious in being static and in front of a green screen, and as they arrived at the new building, the new abode looks more like it was drawn in Microsoft Paint (see below).
An early welcoming party finds the block apparently full of posh and/or weird people yet once the alleged plot starts to kick in, most of these are nowhere to be seen ever again. Plus, it’s meant to be the perfect abode, but while it has posh stairs and floors, it looks like the interior of a soulless warehouse.
…and click on the image for the full-size image to see just how weird it is.
Lauren keeps seeing strange messages flash up on the TV screen, and hearing people singing Beautiful Dreamer (you may remember Martin Freeman’s latest sell-out advert to Vodafone where he ice skates to this song whilst grinning like a complete tit), and with all the weird stuff going on, she thinks the building is some sort of experiment, which naturally causes hubby to look at her as if she’s daft. However, she is on medication for mental health issues which, in Hollywoodland, sees them portray her as straight-up nuts.
Is she losing her mind or is it all part of some government conspiracy? Is the problem caused by the very people who are meant to make her safe? Vernon Sarsfield (John Cusack) thinks he can help, although he can’t fix the fact this is a mish-mash of ideas tropes we’ve seen many times before and it feels like they’re just running through the trope rulebook step by step.
Plus, since the film regularly gives us TV screens with flashing images, if you suffer from epilepsy then this is NOT the film for you, and if you don’t suffer from epilepsy then this will just give you a headache when it does this way too often and while at first I was trying to keep up with the images in case they were essential to the plot, I later realised they weren’t and I had to look away during those scenes to save on the paracetamol.
The film plays on how Ricci’s eyes are constantly bulging out on stalks (above), and also tries to be clever and arty, such as when Lauren goes for lunch with a friend, and as they talk, we see Lauren on the left-hand side of the screen, face pointing to the left as she says her piece. Then her friend is on the right-hand side of the screen, face pointing to the right as she replies, and so on. I know quite a few films and TV series have done this, but it is daft and jarring.
Distorted is mildly watchable and I didn’t hate it. Plus, John Cusack is always worth a watch.
However what’s certainly of note is that this film is not coming out at the cinema… or on Blu-ray… or even DVD…, but it a digital download only. I normally link to Amazon affiliate links and as I post this, it’s not up there yet, so I’ll link when it’s available, but the last time I saw a film in which this happened was for Burt Reynolds’ final film as a lead actor, The Last Movie Star. That also wasn’t his greatest work.
NOTE: This review is for the film only.
Distorted is available to buy on Monday February 4th on digital download.
Running time: 87 minutes
Studio: The Movie Partnership
Released: February 4th 2019
Director: Rob King
Producers: Kevin DeWalt, Danielle Masters
Screenplay: Arne Olsen
Music: Todd Bryanton
Lauren Curran: Christina Ricci
Russell Curran: Brendan Fletcher
Phillip Starks: Vicellous Shannon
Vernon Sarsfield: John Cusack
Margo Ingram: Nicole Anthony
Lance Geyer: Oliver Rice
Beatrice Landry: Gigi Jackman
Ryan: Benjamin DeWalt
Dominique: Maja Milkovich
Tim Hoyle: Scott Olynek
Ephrina: Angela Quinn
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.