“Rupture” forces innocent victims to confront their worst fear and, ironically, that includes the film’s director.
Director Steven Shainberg has made a name for himself in the alt/indie film world by pushing audiences toward the outer edges of their comfort zone. In his 2002 breakthrough film “Secretary,” a disturbed young woman gets a job as a legal secretary when her relationship with the lawyer she supports quickly turns not only sexual but sadomasochistic, reminiscent of “50 Shades of Grey.” In his latest film which comes 11 years since his last project (“Fur”), Shainberg stays true to his reputation for incorporating torture with sexual undertones in the sci-fi picture, “Rupture.”
The film stars Noomi Rapace as Renee Morgan, a single mom who is deathly afraid of spiders, yet jumps at the opportunity to go skydiving with one of her friends. After dropping her son Ethen (Percy Hynes White) off at her estranged husband’s house, she is on her way to meet a friend when her car tire suddenly goes flat. Accepting help from a man who (no coincidence) happened to be driving right behind her, and pulls over to inspect her car, Renee is suddenly tackled, tasered, and kidnapped– but why?
Turns out, a group of mysterious people have been spying on Renee for “a long time” by using household technology like home security cameras. Renee is chained to a portable examining table in a nondescript dungeon basement, sweating profusely as she struggles to break free from these people who are wearing what can only be described as Burning Man sunglasses. “Who are these fucking people?” she screams. It is then that she hears another prisoner, also in chains, answer her with “G1012X.”
When her captors turn into shape-shifting alien creatures reminiscent of “Sloth” from “The Goonies,” it’s really hard to emotionally sympathize with her situation.
What is G1012X? Exactly. It is here where “Rupture” turns from storybook thriller to questionable sci-fi and that’s all because of its ambiguity. We are questioning why Renee’s captors rub their faces against hers and subject her to her biggest fear (that spider comes full circle) up until the end of the film, but by that point, it is hard to take the severity of the situation seriously. When her captors turn into shape-shifting alien creatures reminiscent of “Sloth” from “The Goonies,” it’s really hard to emotionally sympathize with her situation.
There are, however, interesting elements to “Rupture” that seem to be overshadowed by the overall lack of convincing execution, but it isn’t all dismissive. The wallpaper, reminiscent of “The Shining” carpet pattern, is a creepy yet welcomed touch. The torture of one prisoner is very “A Clockwork Orange” and definitely nails the sadistic horror mood. While these moments may have had me momentarily question my criticism of the film, it was then validated with “Rupture’s” frustratingly open-ended ending. All this to say, my final takeaway is that, although Steven Shainberg’s past work has been good, “Rupture” will likely not be added to that list.
“Rupture” is not rated. 102 minutes. Opening tomorrow at the Arena Cinelounge Sunset.