Synopsis: After a lonely tech millionaire encounters a charming and sexy woman, passion grows between them – and when he’s injured, she quickly steps in as his nurse. But her odd behavior makes him suspect she has more sinister intentions, especially when her roommate is found dead from mysterious causes.
Stars: Cameron Monaghan, Lilly Krug, John Malkovich, Sasha Luss, Frank Grillo
Director: Luis Prieto
Running Length: 92 minutes
TMMM Score: (1/10)
Review: All we heard in the latter half of 2021 and now into 2022 was how movies were returning to normal. It took a while for theaters to get back up to speed and while there is still a long way to go to get people to venture out to films that aren’t proven franchises (RIP West Side Story…you shoulda been a blockbuster…), the tide is turning slowly. The at-home market feels like it’s regaining its footing at a more rapid pace. It surely is welcoming its fair share of stink-bombs at around the same volume it was before the pandemic hit.
The latest must-miss is Shattered, another Lionsgate effort and oh, how it pains me to say it. This is the studio that had such a great run with the Saw franchise and launched a trove of worthy indie titles back in the day (Gods and Monsters! Eve’s Bayou!). Yet recently I’ve seen a good amount of less than impressive titles coming out through their banner. I know they can do better, and they can certainly do far better than the dreadful Shattered which I watched on a day off over the Christmas holiday and felt like I got a lump of coal for my efforts. Directed with some attempt at style by Luis Prieto and working from David Loughery slimy script, I actually think Shattered had the potential to be something better than it was. It’s just that the cast assembled is so unfathomably bad.
Describing the plot of Shattered is sort of like looking at a whole shelf of mystery thrillers in the video store, starting at the top left and then randomly assembling the synopsis using snippets from each film. There’s little originality to the set-up featuring a wealthy divorcee (Cameron Monaghan, Vampire Academy) living in a secluded home who meets a random woman (Lilly Krug, Every Breath You Take) at the grocery store, detects she may be in trouble in her current living situation, offers to take her away for the evening to avoid a strung out roommate and skeevy landlord (John Malkovich, Jennifer 8), sleeps with her, falls for her, meets up with her again, then spends the rest of the movie suffering the consequences when she turns out to be a lunatic. Loughery (who also wrote the campy 2009 thriller Obsessed starring Beyoncé, Passenger 57 featuring Wesley Snipes, and the 2020 Hilary Swank vehicle Fatale) tries to differentiate his screenplay by giving the mystery woman a backstory which comes back to haunt her (and us), but if you don’t have actors that can sell it convincingly, then what’s the point? That leaves us to spend the next hour or so with bad actors attempting to play dramatics far beyond their reach.
It pained me to do it, but at the end of Shattered I went back and took a look at the IMDb page for John Malkovich. It’s here if you want to look for yourself. There was a time when that name called forth a certain image, at least to me, of elevated acting and a commitment to the craft which meant that when his name popped up in the credits you should take note of his involvement. Now, when I see Malkovich listed, I have to decide if I even want to bother to read the plot description or watch the trailer. Making movies that are so far removed from titles like 1988’s Dangerous Liaisons, 2000’s Shadow of the Vampire, 1999’s Being John Malkovich, or his Oscar-nominated roles in 1984’s Places in the Heart or 1993’s In the Line of Fire, it almost feels like the actor has been taken hostage and is being forced to make bottom of the barrel scuzz.
The barrel gets scraped down to the rivets with Shattered, truly the most embarrassing role of Malkovich’s celebrated career which finds the actor playing a minor role as a majorly disgusting motel owner that gets mixed up with a femme fatale and her latest target. If you can believe it, Malkovich isn’t even the worst performance in the movie, or the second. Those two key positions are held by stars Monaghan and Krug, as charmless a duo as you could ever want in a psycho-sexual thriller built around a seduction that turns dangerous and eventually deadly. Monaghan is a whiny wimp that somehow has a beautiful ex-wife (Sasha Luss) and child and now has nabbed Krug’s crazeballs chick that turns the tables on him in short order. How or why Frank Grillo (Boss Level) shows up is almost beside the point, by the time the usually dependable supporting player appears when there’s a little more than thirty minutes left, viewers will either have turned the TV off or checked out to the point where they won’t even recognize another character has entered the action.
Even though Shattered is assuredly bad, I wound up giving it a pass for my Worst of 2021 list because it could have technically shown up there…and ranked high in the process. Being a rule follower, I also couldn’t put it on my Worst of 2022 list because I didn’t actually see it this year. So Shattered will slip through my grasp as a call-out after this review concludes…and should slip from your mind just as quickly.