Admittedly films like “Shattered” come out on a regular basis. This plotline of a vulnerable man/woman swindled by a seductively sinister female/male has come in the form of made-for-tv movies for years. Erotic thrillers in the 90’s were a mainstay as well, and “Shattered” takes the juicy parts of each of these films tropes and constructs a loose story-line that veers between sensual thriller and psychological suspense, with touches of home invasion tension. And while it all doesn’t blend into a fantastic film. It does result in one that delivers just enough entertainment with some tempered expectations.
Now the story gets going quickly. A bit too quickly. The set-up of a rich young man recently out of a divorce is introduced. He quickly meets a mysterious woman at the grocery story during a late-night ice cream run, and from there we’re drinking wine and having casual sex. Nothing that’s a deal breaker. But it all happens too conveniently. It all feels a bit contrived. Therefore, the emotional connections of the characters are not really felt, and the foreshadowing of what is to come leads to a high level of predictability.
The writing also is a bit on-the-nose. The dialogue isn’t very natural, and in the real world, there would be red flags all over this situation from the jump. Which does lead to a lack of investment in the characters. However, when the tension elevates, as formulaic as it is, the performances do get better. Krug and Monaghan both play crazy and terrified better than playing a couple falling in love but again, surface level dialogue doesn’t give them much to work with in that department.
Overall, though both Krug and Monaghan make these roles work. Krug plays a fun insane and Monaghan fills the role of victim effectively. John Malkovich pops into this movie as well. I guess everyone needs a paycheck in this era, because he’s far superior than this film. Yet he does bring some charm, and me makes his seedy character the true bright spot of the film. Frank Grillo pops in as well to play his usual schtick and to be honest his entire placement in the film was unnecessary.
And while it all does feel a bit bland, and like a retread of many other films in the genre, there are spots of fun. But they’re few and far between. When the violence and tension are running at full speed the energy does pick up. There are a few steamy sex scenes to get the blood going as well to remind us of films like “Basic Instinct” but the predictability of the storyline does get in the way of actually caring about any of the characters.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.