Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck Check Out These Minimalist, Old School Paperback-Style Posters For The Films Of Wes Anderson Check Out These Minimalist, Old School Paperback-Style Posters For The Films Of Wes Anderson First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' The 30 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2015 Sundance Film Festival The 30 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2015 Sundance Film Festival The 10 Best Films Of 2001 The 10 Best Films Of 2001 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment Watch: Full 90-Minute Documentary 'Great Directors' With David Lynch, Richard Linklater, Todd Haynes And More Watch: Full 90-Minute Documentary 'Great Directors' With David Lynch, Richard Linklater, Todd Haynes And More Exclusive: Matthew Gray Gubler Has Flashbacks In Clip From 'Suburban Gothic' Exclusive: Matthew Gray Gubler Has Flashbacks In Clip From 'Suburban Gothic' The 10 Best Films Of 2000 The 10 Best Films Of 2000 "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice The 20 Most Anticipated Foreign Films Of 2015 The 20 Most Anticipated Foreign Films Of 2015 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Tribeca Review: 'Replicas' Sadly Seems More Interested In Cheap Thrills Than The Haneke-Level Chills It Promises

The Playlist By Gabe Toro | The Playlist April 24, 2012 at 5:21PM

The Hughes family is one just barely clinging to hope after a terrible tragedy. Following the loss of their daughter, Mark (Josh Close), Mary (Selma Blair) and their preteen son Brandon attempt to heal together at their upstate vacation home, the air thick with tension. Mark has been working so hard that by the time he’s taken a break in the wake of their loss, Mary doesn’t even recognize him. And yet, they’re the ideal candidates for suffering in the moody, disquieting “Replicas.”
0
Replicas

The Hughes family is one just barely clinging to hope after a terrible tragedy. Following the loss of their daughter, Mark (Josh Close), Mary (Selma Blair) and their preteen son Brandon attempt to heal together at their upstate vacation home, the air thick with tension. Mark has been working so hard that by the time he’s taken a break in the wake of their loss, Mary doesn’t even recognize him. And yet, they’re the ideal candidates for suffering in the moody, disquieting “Replicas.”

The family isn’t away long before they’re visited by guests Bobby (James D'Arcy), Jane (Rachel Miner) and Jared, a neighboring clan with an overly friendly demeanor who casually invite themselves over. Still emotionally hung over, and wondering why these strangers are leaving firewood on the premises at such an early time, Mark is rude and dismissive. When its clear they won’t take no for an answer, Mark surrenders to the suggestion of a shared lunch in the afternoon.

Replicas

Once they arrive, Bobby and Jane's folksy nature hides desperate prodding, as they pair off with Marcy and Mark, respectively, asking a series of increasingly revealing questions. Mark is testy but open with the flighty, maternal Jane, while Marcy noticeably bristles at what begins to feel like an interrogation from the aggressive Bobby. Marcy asks where the hunger for information comes from and Bobby, playfully toying with Mark's glasses, replies with nervousness and flirtation. Mark, meanwhile begins to turn the questions on the mysterious Jane, who stammers half-answers before changing the subject. Fortunately, nine year old Brandon has the good fortune to be lured to the silence of video games with the interlopers’ child, a bucktoothed moppet with a thousand-mile stare.

The dinner sequence is where “Replicas” begins to reveal itself, with Mary and Mark noticing their smallest gestures copied by these mysterious visitors. It begins with postures, then a laugh, and then a spilled drink, allowing Bobby an opportunity to wear Mark’s shirt. The first unsettling element of this scenario is home invasion via ingratiating kindness. The second, and more disconcerting one, is the mimicking of your most mundane behaviors in the safety of your own home. The perversion of commonality, the visualization of “keeping up with the joneses” writ large.

Replicas

Without revealing the third act revelations, “Replicas” carries a strong sense of tension that dissipates once screenwriter Josh Close and director Jeremy Power Regimbal literally decide to give up the ghost. There’s something ethereal and upsetting about having your private self usurped in front of your eyes. To literalize that thread with guns, psycho pop psychology and arcane explanation is to rob the central ideas in “Replicas” of their potency, simply for some cheap, unsatisfying genre thrills. It’s disappointing, considering sharp perceptive work from Selma Blair, wounded but never a victim, first of tragedy, and then savage attack. Invested in flirting with darker ideas, then catering to genre sensibilities, “Replicas” wounds when it can kill. [B-]

This article is related to: Selma Blair, Tribeca Film Festival, Review, Replicas


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates