Psycho-sexual thrillers tend to be among my favorite guilty pleasures in cinema, and Shattered is an outrageously fun addition to this neglected subgenre. Scripted by David Loughery (who also worked on solid thrillers Obsessed and Lakeview Terrace), it turns out to be a match made in heaven when you throw in Kidnap (yet another solid thriller) director Luis Prieto behind the lens. The craziness builds to a suspenseful high-stakes finale that is just as memorable as it is exciting to watch.
“Retired” tech millionaire Chris (Cameron Monaghan of Shameless and 2014’s The Giver) lives a rather lonely existence. His ex-wife, Jamie (Sasha Luss), has officially proclaimed that she is “moving on,” with their sole bond being young daughter Willow (Ridely Asha Bateman). One day, he meets a strange, flirty blonde named Sky (Lilly Krug), who asks for his wine expertise. When Sky’s Uber cancels on her, Chris offers her a ride home—eventually, this escalates to Sky sleeping over at his place to escape the tumultuous life of her apartment roommate. It is, of course, not long before Sky and Chris have shed their clothing in several reasonably explicit sex scenes. An injury results in Chris needing at-home care. Sky offers to feed him, shop for him, and that “[she’s] willing to have sex with [her] patient.” Where things head from here are pulse-pounding, surprising, and satisfying.
Like any good sexual thriller, a film is only as strong as its fiery and unhinged villain. Sky weasels her way in with her seeming vulnerability; she claims to be a model who came on assignment, sticking around for something more fulfilling. Her quiet exterior hides a darkness that begins poking its way out in small ways. Lilly Krug is quite good in this role, reminding me a bit of Samara Weaving’s Bee from The Babysitter films. Opposite Krug is Monaghan, playing the smoldering and loving character of Chris. I have not seen Monaghan in this type of role before, and he slips into it with an ease that makes the urgency of later horrifying sequences all the more captivating.
Shattered is not trying to reinvent the wheel here. It follows significant beats and cliches we have seen before from the thriller genre. The cast is padded out with vets including John Malkovich and Frank Grillo, both of whom have meaty supporting roles that only add to the gripping cat-and-mouse between Chris and Sky. For those who grew up on films like Fatal Attraction, Poison Ivy, and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, the way the story is choreographed makes it nearly irresistible.
Shattered drills into your leg when it heads to select theaters and VOD on Friday, January 14th, followed by a Blu-Ray and DVD release on February 22nd.