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Coherence (2014)



Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 53
Fresh: 45 | Rotten: 8

A case study in less-is-more filmmaking, Coherence serves as a compelling low-budget calling card for debuting writer-director James Ward Byrkit.


Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 5

A case study in less-is-more filmmaking, Coherence serves as a compelling low-budget calling card for debuting writer-director James Ward Byrkit.



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Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 2,298

My Rating

Movie Info

On the night of an astronomical anomaly, eight friends at a dinner party experience a troubling chain of reality bending events. Part cerebral sci-fi and part relationship drama, COHERENCE is a tightly focused, intimately shot film whose tension intensely ratchets up as its numerous complex mysteries unfold. (c) Oscilloscope


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All Critics (53) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (45) | Rotten (8)

The film's not perfect-the hand-held camerawork sometimes distracts from the unnerving mood-but it's a good, spooky mind-bender.

June 30, 2014 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[The] surprises, while cleverly doled out over the film's brisk 88-minute running time, don't entirely offset the general displeasure of spending time with this particular circle of friends, lovers and old flames ...

June 25, 2014 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Coherence is a gentle film, but you walk away from it with your brain on fire.

June 20, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What began as a nifty puzzle feels more like a trap. It may be possible to unkink this story, but when characters and performances are as unengaging as these, it's hard to feel motivated to try.

June 19, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The conceit is alluringly mind-bending without ever seeming off-puttingly brainy.

June 19, 2014 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Slightly too much like an unfolding mathematical puzzle, although an ingenious one that reaches a chilling conclusion.

June 19, 2014 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Great use of handheld photography and minimal light without falling into the found-footage trap. Coherence makes Byrkit a filmmaker to watch.

July 17, 2014 Full Review Source: Columbus Alive
Columbus Alive

A 'Twilight Zone' dinner party whose guests frankly wear out their welcome.

July 17, 2014 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

Weird and Weirder

July 12, 2014 Full Review Source:

At once a suspenseful mind game and a wily mash-up of surreal quantum physics theories, this low-cost thriller proves that something approaching brilliance is not just a function of budget.

July 11, 2014 Full Review Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram/
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/

James Ward Byrkit completes his journey from storyboard writer-director with this overextended but mostly enjoyable trip into the Twilight Zone.

July 10, 2014 Full Review Source: San Diego Reader
San Diego Reader

If Rod Serling had hired Robert Altman to direct a "Twilight Zone" episode, it might have turned out something like this.

July 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Oregonian

...grounds a mounting sense of paranoia among a set of credibly flawed relationships before doling out its eerie revelations with care.

July 9, 2014 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

The questions Byrkit raises about the intermingling of previously separate realities may be more inspired than some of the answers that his out-of-their-depth characters stumble upon, but the implications are quietly terrifying nonetheless.

July 9, 2014 Full Review Source: Willamette Week
Willamette Week

Coherence is the most convoluted shaggy dog story you'll have heard in quite some time - a shaggy Schrodinger's cat.

July 3, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

A well done, messed up little movie that screws with your head in a good way.

July 2, 2014 Full Review Source: Tucson Weekly
Tucson Weekly

James Ward Byrkit rocks the metaphysical world with his mind-bending look at duality as told like a campfire horror story.

June 30, 2014 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

It has just about everything I like in a sci-fi movie, and it's a tense, involving, brain-bending success.

June 30, 2014 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

The film generates fear and mistrust with very little in the way of effects, gore or outright scares.

June 30, 2014 Full Review Source: PopMatters

Byrkit's is an exactingly proportioned blueprint for well-paced cerebral freakouts, downplayed humor, and the humblest of special effects.

June 30, 2014 Full Review Source: SF Weekly
SF Weekly

Chilling, visceral, and yet cerebral in both execution and scope, it needs only its scathingly intelligent writing, incisive grasp of human nature, and a special effects budget that requires little more than glow sticks to make its points.

June 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Killer Movie Reviews
Killer Movie Reviews

It ties your mind in so many knots you eventually give up trying to work out whether any of it makes a lick of sense. It's part of the film's genius, really.

June 25, 2014 Full Review Source: The Skinny
The Skinny

A mild form of Lynchian terror is unleashed. It's also rather funny.

June 25, 2014 Full Review Source: Electric Sheep
Electric Sheep

Flighty but fun romp in a gravitation field built for eight.

June 25, 2014 Full Review Source: It's Just Movies
It's Just Movies

Audience Reviews for Coherence

Eight professionals gather for dinner on a night when a comet is passing close by the earth; the lights go out, and a bizarre astronomical anomaly throws them into a whirlpool of paranoia. Like a good Twilight Zone episode, this low-budget, largely improvised indie gives you shivers by exploring far out ideas, without the need for special effects. Exciting filmmaking.
July 8, 2014
Greg S

Super Reviewer

[This and more at]

Coherence is a conceptually fascinating and utterly unique film, for better or worse. What begins as a routine dinner party between a group of friends with a somewhat complex history turns into a mind-bending trip down the always-tricky rabbit hole of alternate universes.

Given the plot's mind-boggling complexity, it's likely that even the most talented of filmmakers would have a difficult time keeping everything...well, coherent. It is (unfortunately) unsurprising then that the film includes numerous unfortunate instances of clunky exposition about quantum mechanics. This puts the actors in the unenviable position of having to deliver this exposition, resulting in dialogue that frequently feels stilted.

The film looks wonderful though, utilizing handheld camerawork for a natural sense of immediacy without resorting to some sort of found footage gimmickry. Fans of challenging science fiction may very easily be able to overlook the spotty execution that comes with such a staggeringly ambitious project.
June 19, 2014
Sam Barnett

Super Reviewer

As karmic payment for talking on her cell phone while driving, Em's(Emily Foxler) cell phone spontaneously cracks just as she is arriving at a dinner party. Otherwise, the night goes fine. At least until the lights and cell phone reception go out which are blamed on a passing comet minding its own business. Spying a house that still has lights, Hugh(Hugo Armstrong) and Amir(Alex Manugian) go to investigate while also hoping to use their telephone. While they are gone, the generator is turned back on. And once they do return, they bring a box with them.

While owing more to 'Community' than 'The Twilight Zone,'(and is it any coincidence that one of the characters is named Em?), "Coherence" is a fairly thought provoking movie that comments on the randomness of the universe.(Considering it also references a 'Roswell' that has 4 seasons, not 3, and possibly starring Nicholas Brendon, this may not all be taking place in our universe.) As such, it is smart enough to reference both Tunguska and Schrodinger's Cat. On a less technical side, this modest movie while having some great moments also fails to develop its characters as well as it should have.
July 2, 2014
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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