Friday, September 23, 2022

[Review]—"The Infernal Machine" is a Flawed Yet Gripping Thriller

Today marks the Paramount+ streaming premiere of the R-rated, 111-minute film The Infernal Machine starring Guy Pearce, based on the podcast "The Hilly Earth Society,"  created by Jonathan Mitchell and Louis Kornfeld. Andrew Hunt wrote and helmed the movie (his feature film directorial debut). The supporting cast includes Alice Eve, Jeremy Davies, and Alex Pettyfer.

The plot revolves around Bruce Cogburn (Guy Pearce), the author of "The Infernal Machine." He does his best to avoid society by living in the middle of nowhere in Southern California, 40 miles from the closest phone booth. His publisher wants him to write a new introduction for the anniversary edition of the book, which is difficult for him to accomplish when he hasn't written anything since the book's original release, adding to his building anxiety. 

Years ago, a teenager went on a shooting spree on a college campus. After reading "The Infernal Machine," the teen said that a voice in his brain urged him to commit murder. Bruce Cogburn withdrew into seclusion after the horrific tragedy, blaming himself for the deaths, until someone eventually discovered him.

For quite some time, Bruce has been getting letters from an admirer who needs to see him, which makes him suspicious because this person knows his address. Adopting a German Shepard and packing guns won't protect Bruce from the unknown, but it will help push him across the point of insanity, where he will have to face the past he has been evading.

My thoughts kept returning to "The Rage," a Stephen King novella that is no longer in print and may have served as the basis for the podcast that served as the inspiration for The Infernal Machine. Please take my word with a grain of salt—I don't have any "inside" information about this fact. But I call it as I see it.  

Only Guy Peirce's outstanding performance and the suspense of who is working behind the scenes keep The Infernal Machine going. The ability of the audience to focus on specifics is crucial to this slow-burning drama. I felt the writing and directing were excellent up until the final act, when, sadly, the plot disintegrates and gives us viewers a hurried, slightly formulaic conclusion. Don't get me wrong: I like the ending twist, but it could have been handled better. SPOILER WARNING: You'd think that even in a small town, someone would have spotted a man barely alive crawling on a sidewalk away from a burning building, but I guess not. 

Overall, The Infernal Machine was entertaining, despite some problems with the finale. It's refreshing to watch a movie with a real story that doesn't revolve around the superheroes and robot aliens that Hollywood seems to think we all desperately need in our lives.╌★★★½✰

No comments:

Post a Comment

I adore reading reader feedback! I will, however, remove all spam and pointless comments.

Please take note that I have the right to delete comments from this site. Please only post constructive and respectful feedback.