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The Perception (Movie Review)

The Perception (Movie Review)
7 10

PLOT: When a writer who lives in a house that was the site of a murder/suicide begins to suspect that his wife is cheating on him, he sets a series of events in motion that results in more death occurring in his home.

REVIEW: THE PERCEPTION isn't the sort of title that's likely to catch your attention and draw you in to watch a film, but it is a fitting one for director Jensen Noen's newly released psychological thriller, as this is a movie that will always have you questioning the accuracy of its lead character's perception of what's going on around him.

That lead character is Richard, played by Jon Edwin Wright, an author who lives in a house with a dark past: when the previous owner came home to find his wife in bed with another man, he murdered them both and committed suicide by climbing into the bathtub with a toaster. Now Richard has begun to fear that his own wife Haley (Sandi Gardiner) is having an affair, and the way he chooses to deal with this suspicion takes him down a path that causes more bloody death to occur in his home... Or so it appears.

Noen, who also wrote the film with Elizabeth H. Vu, at first toys with the viewer by jumping back and forth in the timeline - we get a glimpse of the aftermath of Richard's actions before we even know what he did. I was more annoyed than intrigued by this initial cutting back and forth; I began to enjoy the movie much more when I had more information on what was happening, and especially once the movie caught up with the "flash forwards". 

The Perception Jensen Noen

While Richard wrestles with guilt and paranoia over what happened, things get quite strange and we're made to wonder if he's losing his mind, if the violence in his home has stirred up something supernatural, or if the world really is out to get him. I don't often like it when movies go too far with making the viewer question the reality of what they're being shown, but Noen didn't lose me - actually, the reverse. As the film went on, I grew more invested and more eager to find out the truth.

Thankfully, the payoff was worth the build-up. A lot of films that keep things this shrouded in mystery tend to drop the ball at the end, but I had fun following the twists and turns Noen threw in while wrapping up his film. Once answers were given and it was clear what exactly was going on, I was so entertained and satisfied that it greatly enhanced my appreciation of the entire film overall. Sometimes the ending can make or break the movie, and this is a case where the ending makes the movie.

Wright and Gardiner did great work in their roles, with Wright carrying large portions of the film on his shoulders. Nick Bateman provides some solid support as a personal trainer who gets caught up in the middle of Richard and Haley's marital issues, and it was nice to see the always reliable Eric Roberts show up now and then as an associate of Richard's. 

I was resistant to the stylistic choices Noen made early on, but his film fully won me over in the end. If you're in the mood to watch a twisted little thriller, THE PERCEPTION delivers with its story of paranoia, suspected infidelity, and murder.
 

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