It starts out ordinarily enough.
A group of friends decide to have a dinner party on the night that a comet comes close to the earth.
But then the lights go out. They try to go next door to get help.
And that’s when it gets strange.
Coherence is yet another reminder that no one needs a hundred million dollars and an army of programmers to make a good SF film. As if we really needed one (actually, it might be nice to be reminded once in a while that you can make a good one with a hundred million. Just saying). The action takes place within the confines of one house and the surroundings, the effects are almost non-existent (limited to the shots of the comet), and much of the dialogue was in fact improvised by the cast. It’s hard to get much more minimal than that.
What makes Coherence work so well is the inexplicably trivial nature of some of the things they find – boxes full of meaningless personal items, different colored light sticks, and contradictory stories. And yet, in the end there is a logical explanation for all of it.
It is always welcome to add another film to the small, select list of movies that use intelligent ideas, good writing, and out and out cleverness as a substitute for boatloads of cash. What is even better is that Coherence just doesn’t have much in common with any of the other films like it.
Which is exactly how it should be.