Fractured – Review
When Rebecca and Michael decide to take a weekend getaway and drive into the isolated countryside, they arrive at their cottage unscathed, but Rebecca can't help but feel like someone is watching.
Sometimes, the best way to go into a movie is completely blind, not knowing anything of the plot, and not expecting anything. I try to do that wherever possible but it isn’t always a realistic option in this age of information overload. Fractured was very much a case of this. Open up Amazon Prime, read the blurb and fire it up not expecting much.
It seems that, the majority of the time, when I pick a movie in this way I am left disappointed. Fractured actually left me pleasantly surprised. It is a fairly enjoyable, mystery, thriller romp with an interesting twist. With that in mind, let’s take a look.
Just Another Horror Movie
That is pretty much what I was thinking after the first ten minutes of Fractured. We are introduced to Michael (Karl Davies) and Rebecca (April Pearson), a young couple on their way to a holiday destination for a seemingly romantic weekend away. Sure, they both come across as annoying, overbearing, idiots but that is true of a lot of young couples.
They bicker and take jabs at each other as they stop off at a petrol station. Michael, noticing the strange reaction of the petrol station attendant, asks to use the toilet. While sitting down he spots someone approaching the cubicle. Hastily leaving, forgetting Rebecca’s purse, the couple eventually arrive at their destination to enjoy a pleasant night together.
It isn’t long before Michael and Rebecca start noticing things amiss in their secluded getaway. Shoes are missing, items are missing from their car, and the occasional random noise unnerves them somewhat. Despite the disturbing aura, they attempt to get on with their night and enjoy themselves.
After a spirited spanking session – don’t worry, nothing too graphic and no nudity for the less liberal minded of you – Michael manages to somehow knock himself unconscious leaving the bound Rebecca in a somewhat precarious position, face down, in the dark, and with something seemingly in the house.
An Interesting Twist
Within 35 minutes we are introduced to an interesting twist that I am not going to speak about in any depth. In fact, I really can’t discuss any more of the plot for the risk of spoilers and that’s not how we roll on Knockout Horror. We want to keep Knockout Horror’s Horror Movie Reviews as spoiler free as possible. Suffice to say, it is a decent twist that adds a lot to what was, initially, a very bland thriller movie with unlikable characters.
A good twist can really change the outlook of a movie. Movies love to attempt to pull the rug out from under your feet and the horror genre is definitely no exception. There is so much room for moving the goal posts and Fractured does a pretty good job. Sure there are a few things that don’t quite add up, some character actions that don’t make sense, and a few loose ends but it really isn’t bad. I would actually go as far as to say that the twist makes the movie worth watching despite many of its flaws.
Recent British Horror Woes
I am sure there are some people who would be quick to disagree with me but, as of late, the UK horror movie industry has been somewhat lacking. I am Welsh so I am not saying this from a point of attacking, just fact. Whether it is through lack of funding or simply lack of innovation, there just hasn’t been much to shout about since The Witch. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot of British talent. There is a ton of British talent in the horror industry, it just seems as though the lack of a language barrier means that the vast majority of British talent works in the USA or Canada.
This lack of noteworthy examples is, of course, contrary to history. The UK has an incredible lineage when it comes to the horror movie genre. From old classics like The Wicker Man and The Omen to modern classics like The Descent and 28 Days Later right up to more recent entries like Under The Skin and the Ghost Stories; the UK has always punched above its weight in the horror industry. It is a shame to see so much average horror coming from the UK in the past few years. I feel as though we need a big breakthrough title to change the UK horror industry much like 28 Days Later did back in the early 2000s.
British horror seems to have moved towards the thriller end of the spectrum and often feels a bit gimmicky. I haven’t reviewed it yet but Truth or Die is a good example of this. Fractured feels, at the start, as though it is very much of this nature. Heavily typical English accents, bags of sarcasm, no depth to the characters, plodding plot. There really isn’t a lot to write home about. If you know the type of movie I am referring to and don’t appreciate that style then you may want to skip Fractured as it likely won’t change your mind. It is very typical of post 2015 British horror. The twist, however, adds a lot and distracts from how unremarkable everything else about the movie is.
Fractured will not turn the tides of British Horror’s fortunes but it does try to do things a little different. Unfortunately, it is not close to perfect and many of the issues bear mentioning.
Scripting, Cameras and Lighting – Oh My!
First of all, I absolutely have to mention the scripting. It has been a long time since I cringed so heavily at the dialogue in a movie. Do people actually talk to each other like this? If I spoke to my fiancee the way Michael talks to Rebecca I doubt I would ever be able to stop her laughing and she definitely wouldn’t take me seriously again.
You hear that? Exactly! Nothing needs to be said. We know each other inside and out – Michael
That is an actual quote from the film as Michael and Rebecca stare awkwardly into each others eyes, naturally preceded by a Michael Myers-esque head tilt. It was both creepy and cringe inducing. This is one of many similar lines that made my skin crawl with just how badly delivered and out of place they were.
Michael and Rebecca have no chemistry until the plot becomes a little more clear but even then these lines seem out of place. The screenplay and writing is really substandard and the characters never once seem like anything other than paint by numbers low budget horror characters.
Camera work is pretty basic with little experimentation. Shots linger which I prefer to the all too common trope of switching between characters to capture reactions. Nothing reveals an inexperienced camera crew and director like the need to always focus on the person who is talking. We have some shots through windows and through cracks in doors that certainly accomplish the task of setting the voyeuristic scene.
We do have some extremely poor shots such as the scene where Michael is spanking Rebecca. The shot is claustrophobic and doesn’t give much hint as to what is going on. It makes it look like they have chosen to sleep in a box room rather than the large bedroom we see them in earlier on in the movie. It’s worth mentioning that despite the sex, spanking, and bath scenes in the movie, we never see any nudity so nothing to worry about if this is something that concerns you. I would say this is actually to the detriment of the movie as it takes away from the intimacy of the voyeuristic nature of the camera shots. The implication of vulnerability from a character, or characters, being nude in these situations is extremely effective, Alone With Her is a fantastic example of this.
The biggest visual problem I had with Fractured is the lighting. This movie is incredibly dark. We watched on a large TV that is configured to display as close to the director’s intentions as possible and some scenes were incredibly dark in parts. I get it, they are in the middle of nowhere, they don’t know how a light switch works, I understand but it is just too much.
Some Acting Inconsistencies
Fractured features some very experienced British actors that many people from the UK will recognise. Karl Davies, who plays Michael, just got done with Chernobyl and was the original Robert Sugden in Emmerdale. April Pearson starred in the first couple of seasons of Skins, and Louisa Lytton has been acting since her teens as Ruby in Eastenders. They, for the most part, do a great job, especially Louisa Lytton.
There are, however, a few instances where the dialogue drags down the acting. There are certain lines, as mentioned above, that would be impossible for any actor to deliver well. April Pearson shines more towards the middle of the movie as the plot begins to clear up and Karl Davies is fairly consistent throughout though he seems to get the bulk of the bad lines. It is a little difficult to separate what is average acting and just bad scripting but there is nothing that gets in the way of the story and none of the acting stands out as being particularly good or bad.
Is it a Knockout?
All in all, yes, I think I would recommend Fractured. It is not a particularly fantastic movie and it won't really sweep anyone off their feet. It is, however, an enjoyable mystery themed horror thriller with a fun premise, an interesting twist, and the perfect run time at around 80 minutes.
Fractured runs the risk of being rather dull but manages to avoid it with an interesting switch of direction that is fairly difficult to see coming. The twist will keep you watching and, if you don't expect too much, you will probably find that you had an enjoyable time watching.