Updated: Jul 31, 2019
A straight to Netflix film, there’s now calls to get this a theatrical release. So is it worthy? We’re in firm sci-fi thriller territory, but it lacks an edge. The darkness not quite dark enough. Portman and Jason-Leigh are good albeit a bit empty... perhaps purposely so, but there’s a lot riding on Portman, with not enough made of the other characters and ultimately it suffers for it. Slow stark dialogue, long lingering shots, low rumbling drone sound effects, all seem a bit laboured, as does the shimmer effect (a character of sorts in itself) looks a bit like fairy liquid in the sink. I’m being harsh though, the premise is good, a mysterious growing haze taking over an American forest area (always America) with a lighthouse at its centre. Once inside ‘The Shimmer’ things improve, but it shows it’s hand too soon and although there are still engaging events through to the end, the arc is clear. It’s a bit like Predator meets The Land That Time Forgot and in the third act it all gets a bit prophetic and jumbled as it tries to help make sense of its increasingly weighty and abstract themes. There’s some good ambitious ideas here and credit to Alex Garland for attempting something so grand, but it struggles in bringing them together. Apparently this has divided audiences and I can understand why, it fell short for me. The end titles though are beautiful.