RUPTURE (2016)


Studio:       AMBI Media Group
Director:    Steven Shainberg
Writer:       Brian Nelson, Steven Shainberg
Producer:  Andrew Lazar, Steven Shainberg, Christina Weiss Lurie, Andrea Iervolino, Monika Bacardi
Stars:     Noomi Rapace, Peter Stormare, Lesley Manville, Kerry Bishe, Percy Hynes White, Mayko Nguyen, Ari Millen, Jonathan Potts, Michael Chiklis

Review Score:


A woman fights to free herself from a mysterious organization holding her captive for a secret experiment.



Renee¡¯s mundane morning of dropping off her son with her ex-husband and then meeting a friend takes an unexpected turn when her tire blows out.  This is no ordinary accident.  An unknown organization of mysterious men and women has been monitoring the single mother for months.  Time has now come to kidnap Renee on the side of the road and put her into phase two of their plan.

Imprisoned in an underground laboratory, Renee is subjected to personalized torment exploiting her fear of spiders.  Different doctors come and go, conducting tests, administering injections, and driving her mind mad with unanswered questions.

The conspiratorial cabal keeping Renee captive has an unknown endgame in store for their terror-based experiments.  Renee¡¯s first clue comes from another unwilling subject who implores her to remember ¡°G10 12X.¡±  Whatever is happening, Renee knows it¡¯s not good.  Because overheard whispers tell her if her DNA doesn¡¯t take to a rupture, Renee is destined to die horribly.

Have you ever seen a low-budget thriller with a high concept premise, maybe something on SyFy or some sort of DTV indie, and thought, ¡°this idea is interesting.  If only they had a recognizable cast, the movie might have been better?¡±  Well, ¡°Rupture¡± is that alternate movie.  Only it turns out that adding name actors doesn¡¯t elevate mediocre material or skimpy production values after all.

Even though ¡°Rupture¡± is positioned as echoing shades of the S&M sexiness director Steven Shainberg put into ¡°Secretary,¡± this movie cautiously avoids any bold or risqu¨¦ movements after Renee¡¯s initial abduction.  ¡°Rupture¡± is essentially ¡°Martyrs¡± Lite.  Strip away the dark skeins of visceral torture that make for first-clenching tension in the contemporary French classic, leave the setup of a clandestine group forcing a targeted test subject to undergo a transformation, and here you have a tamer version of basically the same story.

¡°Rupture¡± fights hungrily for a distinct visual style.  Argento-esque red lights wash the underground lair, with tints of sharp blue or sickly green popping up in highlight.  What¡¯s pitiably clear about the look is that production design is desperate to mask how confined the tiny set is while dressing everything in dinginess for spook value that is out of synch with the story.

Renee is kidnapped and held captive by several doctors as well as unidentified others in suits and tailored dresses with manicured faces and perfectly cut hairstyles.  Why do they work in a laboratory that looks like a medieval dungeon covered in a century¡¯s worth of filth?  Mirrors are caked in thick layers of crud.  Dried dirt swaths streak walls and windows.  For such a sophisticated operation, you¡¯d think they could afford one mop.

Brian Nelson¡¯s script is equally unconcerned with realism, motivated by pat plot progression first and foremost.  This mystery organization has been spying on Renee day and night for months through a half dozen surveillance cameras hidden in her suburban St. Louis home.  Yet they don¡¯t have a single camera in her cell or in an adjacent hallway with which someone could monitor every attempt she makes at escape.

Act one recycles beats of Renee stretching for an out of reach knife to cut her restraints over and over and over again.  When she finally breaks free, Renee sneaks away in a conveniently sized ventilation duct overhead that conveniently connects to every other cell so she see the full scope of her situation.

By the time Renee uncovers the final revelation, attention spans are so worn down by repetitive scenes of injecting needles, near miss escapes, and cryptic claptrap from Renee¡¯s captors that you only care because it means the movie can finally start wrapping up.  It comes to a point where every time you hear the frequent thok-thok-thok of Renee¡¯s door bolts unlocking, you sigh, ¡°not this again.¡±

Renee faces a revolving door of pokers and prodders including Terrence, Dianne, Dr. Nyman, Dr. Raxlen, Colette, and at least two others who aren¡¯t given names.  Then there is Tommy, an unknown woman, a van driver, and other henchpeople doing miscellaneous dirty work.  Characters can¡¯t find a groove for development because the runtime¡¯s minutes are minced among multiple unnecessary personalities.

¡°Rupture¡± is stacked with talent like Noomi Rapace, Michael Chiklis, Ari Millen of ¡°Orphan Black,¡± and more, and neither needs nor does enough with all of these people.  Peter Stormare and Lesley Manville receive second and third billing even though they only appear in about three scenes each.  Michael Chiklis is so immaterial that he is simply credited as ¡®Bald Man.¡¯

This is what I mean about ¡°Rupture¡± looking like a Saturday syndication suspense film that happens to star notable names.  ¡®Bald Man¡¯ could be played by anyone and it wouldn¡¯t make any difference.  The story doesn¡¯t demand a high level of talent.  Only the movie itself needs the names for anyone to notice it.

Initial intrigue stretches momentarily until it stalls in its tracks and sits there, one more undeveloped element left to shrivel in a drab environment.  Familiar faces make ¡°Rupture¡± an okay option for a one-time watch of quick hit science-fiction.  But substance and suspense don¡¯t have depth to move the film any further than that.

Review Score:  50