Shattered review – John Malkovich has bizarre cameo in oddball erotic thriller

You’ve not known humiliation until you’ve had John Malkovich pant “Walk of shame!” at you as you skulk back to your motel room. That is one bizarre moment in this halting and derivative thriller, which exists somewhere on the continuum between erotic and psychological. Malkovich puts in a batty turn as a motel owner that would have had “paycheque” written all over it except for his co-producer credit.

The shamee in question is Sky (Lilly Krug), a permanent resident at the motel who, thanks to a chance encounter in a supermarket wine aisle, has just bagged the attentions of local tech millionaire Chris (Cameron Monaghan). Living alone in a wood-panelled designer home and estranged from his wife and kid, this emotionally constipated app developer is obsessed with his security system. But Sky, living in fear of an abusive roommate, activates his protective side. As well as volcanic nookie, they bond over their deprived childhoods. Alas, she is not who she says she is.

Subtlety is not director Luis Prieto’s strong suit – and he struggles to build tension or much emotional connection to the pair. But once Chris is wheelchair- and penthouse-bound, Prieto uses a certain reptilian dependence on sex and violence to drum up a fairly satisfying blend of Basic Instinct and Misery. If Shattered doesn’t quite mobilise its high-spec interiors with the same inventiveness as Panic Room, it half-compensates by maximising the impact of its vicious streak.

The bright-eyed and brutal Krug makes a decent fist of her first lead role – her allure reinforced when Prieto lifts Grace Kelly’s Rear Window “waking” introduction for her. She exploits her physicality with uninhibited glee both in the bedroom and during more overt coercion. It’s a shame that, instead of fully milking Sky’s sociopathic reserves, the film instead cedes to Frank Grillo; a man who these days appears in so many B-movies that you suspect he must come with a tax rebate. Shattered ably ticks genre boxes, but fails to drill into the characters in a way that counts.

Comments are closed.