Noomi Rapace (Prometheus) plays Renee Morgan, a single mother who is unaware that her home has been bugged with hidden cameras by bad people. Stopping at the side of the road to fix a mysterious blowout, she is forcibly abducted and drugged to the eyeballs by a sinister cohort led by Michael Chiklis and British actress Lesley Manville. They spirit her to a mysterious installation packed with high-tech equipment for human experimentation. So far, so Prisoner. Except this is no beautiful village, but a rusting industrial hellhole where poor Renee finds herself on the receiving end of bizarre medical interventions designed to summon in her the mysterious ‘rupture’ of the title. And not an onion bhaji in sight.
What follows is a one-woman masterclass in terrified rebellion from Rapace; we root for her as she desperately attempts to escape and wince along with her manifest discomfort. In what may well be the year’s greatest moment of cinematic horror, her worst nightmare becomes a reality in a scene involving an airtight helmet and some spiders.
The set-up that director Steven Shainberg (Secretary) give us is brilliantly disorientating. Told entirely from Rapace’s perspective, we’re constantly questioning the veracity of her experience – and with good reason, as it turns out. On the visual side, Shainberg has a ball, saturating the screen with Gaspar Noé-esque reds and tossing sly and not-so-sly genre references around the place including turning the famous ‘Apollo 11’ carpet from The Shining into wallpaper. Obviously, the villains are uber-nerds on the side – even more reason to hate them.
It's fair to say that for a lot of people Rupture will stand or fall on a rather audacious twist featuring a completely gratuitous CGI effect that will either have you hooting with delight or snorting with derision. Ever the rebels, we did a bit of both (a hootie snort) but came away liking it; it’s a proper horror moment with a streak of mad delight in its execution that tells us not to take things too seriously. Indeed, from here on in we’re in pulp sci-fi territory, with a final act that transfers the action back to Renee’s home and what feels like a homage to Philip Kaufman’s creepily urbane 1978 take on Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
The small cast are all excellent, Chiklis giving it his best Vincent D'Onofrio and Manville nicely malevolent as his co-conspirator. But this is Rapace’s film; yes, we know she can do this kind of thing standing on her head but that doesn’t make her trademark mix of vulnerability and steel any the less effective. Rupture may not have the cleverest title of the year or be particularly original, but with Rapace at its centre in stark raving terrified mode, it’s a committed stab of strangeness that’ll keep you guessing through to an admirably dark conclusion. Might want to skip the usual post-cinema drinking and curry, though, just this once…
RUPTURE / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: STEVEN SHAINBERG / SCREENPLAY: BRIAN NELSON, STEVEN SHAINBERG / STARRING: NOOMI RAPACE, PETER STORMARE, KERRY BISHÉ, MICHAEL CHIKLIS / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 4TH
Expected Rating: 7 out of 10Actual Rating: