Sweden’s Noomi Rapace came into widestream fame back in 2009, playing Lisbeth Salander in the Stieg Larsson adaption The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. This iconic character was soon portrayed again by Rooney Mara in the American adaptation. And from there on, the name confusion began. Rapace joined Mara in American cinema and become known for featuring in the Sherlock Holmes sequel and her lead performance in Alien prequel Prometheus.
The horror aspect to Prometheus worked well for Rapace and so the chance to take on something like Steven Shainberg‘s Rupture came with open arms. Playing divorced mother of one, Renee, armed with a slightly un-nameable accent, this character is pretty suburban for Rapace. Squealing at a spider in the opening scene, requiring her teenage son Evan to dispose of the creature, the film sets Renee up to be a fairly typical mother figure. She encourages and supports her son when questioning him on his schoolwork, which is when we learn Evan’s father is the villain of the two (something which doesn’t seem to add much to the story but creates some sort of tension for the family as the narrative progresses). She has a smart head on her shoulders, though, demonstrated mainly through dialogue about not needing a guy around to fix things for her. The opening establishes enough, if not in a slightly unsophisticated way.
As per mainstream horror, ominous strings kick into the soundtrack as scenes cut, clunkily foreboding what’s to come – which thankfully isn’t an obvious haunted house ordeal – although someone is watching her. Not long after dropping her son off to his father and heading on her day-trip does Renee get abducted in what’s actually an effective scene due to the plausibility of the means of her capture. From here on, everything is murky. The tone gets grittier and the cheesy score is no longer looming.
Aside from keeping Renee locked up and being creepy, the cult-like group don’t relay emotionally to the audience the threat they pose on their captives. With this being such a fundamental aspect of a horror story, it loses all potency. Not only that – as characters, they make no impact and there’s too many of them to care, quite frankly.
There are effective ideas, such as the tactic of hearing rather than seeing torture. But coupled with the rest of the film, it ends up seeming quite hammy.
Ultimately, the ideas have some potential. The premise of using common fears such as spiders and heights for torture sequences will reach out to many individually and the way this is explored within the context of the story is done well.
Rapace works with what she’s been given. She balances panicked and distressed with strong-willed fantastically. She deserves more from the story around her.
Like any good suspense in cinema, the lack of clarity on what these people’s motive is for abducting Renee is unclear. But this mystery is drawn on for so long that the reveal is so anti-climatic, it feels like a waste.
In terms of the style, there’s something satisfying and aesthetically pleasing with the use of red and orange ambient lights, which stands out amongst the blues and greens which would have slotted so easily into this sub-genre. Aside from being pleasing to the eye, it feels more style over substance. It ends up giving a nightclub vibe, whereas the usual colours would’ve given a medical feel and perhaps created a more threatening environment. So, nice idea but not sure it impacts the film in the right way.
That seems to be the common theme with Rupture. A few promising aspects that either don’t fully play out and amount to anything, or just end up not making the right impact. Not only is the reveal unsatisfactory, the resolve at the end doesn’t pack a punch either. Everything just seems to unfold in a way as if you might have missed something; it’s not confusing, it just really actually feels like something is missing. With such superb horror like Black Mirror stirring real and deep feelings of terror in audiences, it’s hard not to feel like Rupture really isn’t up to standard.
Dir: Steven Shainberg
Scr: Brian Nelson, Steven Shainberg
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Peter Stormare, Kerry Bishé, Michael Chiklis, Lesley Manville, Percy Hynes White, Ari Millen
Prd: Monika Bacardi, Andrea Iervolino, Andrew Lazar, Bruno Rosato, Steven Shainberg, Christina Weiss Lurie
DOP: Karim Hussain
Music: Kevin Banks, Beth Rosenblatt
Country: USA, Canada
Runtime: 102 min
Rupture is out on digital download, DVD and Blu-ray now.