By Marcia Yarrow
n writer-director James Ward Bykrit's stimulating and claustrophobic thriller, a group of eight friends gather for dinner on the night a large comet skirts along the earth's atmosphere. First, a mobile phone shatters. Then, gradually, conversation turns edgy and feral, finally fraying altogether. Soon, power goes out. A foray to another home turns up a box of images — of the dinner guests in identical poses.
By playing on doubles, Bykrit has main two goals: to poke at the fragility of individual reality and expose how people under pressure turn to unequal doses of lucidity, irrationality, and self-pity, all of which are in constant motion if not on a collision course. Minor sentimental disagreements among the diners suddenly turn large and threatening; seemingly impossible coincidences induce fear and bickering; the supernatural and paranoia become kissing cousins. Trust collapses.
This is smart, pressure-cooker of a mood piece that works little wonders with group dynamics. It sets up a variety of realities involving the same characters and lets quantum havoc loose on people who are far to fragile and fraught to handle the consequences. "Worse things could happen at a dinner party," says one guest. Hardly.
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