Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' First Official Look: Jared Leto As The Joker In 'Suicide Squad' First Official Look: Jared Leto As The Joker In 'Suicide Squad' Joss Whedon Says He Earned More Making 'Dr. Horrible' Than 'The Avengers,' Weighs In On Marvel Vs. DC Joss Whedon Says He Earned More Making 'Dr. Horrible' Than 'The Avengers,' Weighs In On Marvel Vs. DC Tom Hardy Met Mel Gibson And Made Him A Bracelet, Says Michael Fassbender Was "The Sh*t" In School Tom Hardy Met Mel Gibson And Made Him A Bracelet, Says Michael Fassbender Was "The Sh*t" In School Native Actors Walk Off Set Of Adam Sandler's 'Ridiculous 6' Over Disrespectful, Insulting Script Native Actors Walk Off Set Of Adam Sandler's 'Ridiculous 6' Over Disrespectful, Insulting Script Watch: Johnny Depp Rages As Whitey Bulger In First Trailer For Gangster Tale 'Black Mass' Watch: Johnny Depp Rages As Whitey Bulger In First Trailer For Gangster Tale 'Black Mass' Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' And More Added To Cannes Film Festival Lineup Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' And More Added To Cannes Film Festival Lineup First Look: Johnny Depp Goes Gangster In As Whitey Bulger In 'Black Mass' First Look: Johnny Depp Goes Gangster In As Whitey Bulger In 'Black Mass' Watch: Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Anne Hathaway, Michael Fassbender And More Talk The Art Of Acting Watch: Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Anne Hathaway, Michael Fassbender And More Talk The Art Of Acting Review: Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ Starring Robert Downey Jr. Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson & More Review: Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ Starring Robert Downey Jr. Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson & More Watch: Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, And More Talk The Art Of Filmmaking Watch: Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, And More Talk The Art Of Filmmaking Christopher Nolan's Favorite Sequence From His Movies Is The Airplane Kidnapping Scene From 'The Dark Knight Rises' Christopher Nolan's Favorite Sequence From His Movies Is The Airplane Kidnapping Scene From 'The Dark Knight Rises' Joss Whedon Calls Edgar Wright's 'Ant-Man' "The Best Script Marvel Ever Had," Warns Of Serialized Moviemaking Joss Whedon Calls Edgar Wright's 'Ant-Man' "The Best Script Marvel Ever Had," Warns Of Serialized Moviemaking The 41 Most Anticipated Movies Of Summer 2015 The 41 Most Anticipated Movies Of Summer 2015 Watch: First Teaser For 'Star Wars: Rogue One,' Plot Details Confirmed Watch: First Teaser For 'Star Wars: Rogue One,' Plot Details Confirmed The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 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

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