The multiverse is the hot thing in Hollywood right now, and we’re about to get a full dive into it with the upcoming second season of the Disney+ series Loki. However, before Loki hits our screens next weekend, you can check out a multiverse film from 2013 called Coherence that is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video. You might be getting a bit tired of the multiverse, but this film is an original take on it that is worth checking out.
Loki may feature a big-budget multiverse, but Coherence, streaming now on Amazon Prime Video, proves low-budget thrillers can mess around with different universes, too.
Coherence is a sci-fi thriller that focuses on a group of eight friends who meet for a dinner party. However, things take a strange and mysterious turn after a comet passes close by the Earth that night. Suffice it to say, giving away more of the story would ruin the twists and turns of the movie, so you’ll have to stream it for yourself if you want to find out what happens.
Coherence was directed and written by James Ward Byrkit, who makes his directorial debut with this stunning thriller. Previously, Byrkit was best known for his work as a storyboard artist and conceptual consultant on the first three films in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. He puts his astute eye for visuals and filmmaking in this film, which widely received critical praise upon its release.
Coherence stars an ensemble cast that includes Emily Foxler, Maury Sterling, Nicholas Brendon, Lorene Scafaria, Hugo Armstrong, Elizabeth Gracen, Alex Manugian, Lauren Maher, Aqueela Zoll, and Kelly Donovan. Bellanova Films and Ugly Duckling Films produced, and Kristin Ohrn Dyrud provided the original score for the film. The movie also ended up winning several awards at different independent film festivals.
Coherence was mostly improvised, with actors only receiving a basic outline of their character and motivation, with brief plot points explained in a very short, 12-page script.
The multiverse is a concept ripe for storytelling potential, essentially only limited to the storyteller’s imagination and the budget for what they put to screen. Coherence was certainly a low-budget film, and Byrkit took a less-is-more approach to the concept of the film. This angle pays off and makes the film one of the more unique takes on the multiverse out there.
Byrkit also took a unique approach to filming Coherence, only giving the actors a basic outline of their characters, motivations, and major plot points. He also intentionally chose actors who didn’t know one another so they could focus on their characters and the story. The outlines that he gave each actor also weren’t seen by the other actors, so it was a unique improvisational approach where the actors had to go purely off each other’s characters and motivations.
Byrkit did have a 12-page overall script for Coherence that outlined the major twists and turns of the film, which allowed him to guide the filming process. However, as mentioned, the actors would get new notecards each day, and the way they would get to those plot points and twists and turns would be more organic. Nicholas Brendon spoke about the filming process and how even he was surprised by the final product, saying, “When I saw the movie, I’m like, ‘Oh s**t, this is awesome,'” adding, “… To be quite honest with you, I never really knew what was going on fully until I saw the movie done.”
Critics and fans have compared Coherence to The Twilight Zone, which is high praise indeed.
So, if the plot of Coherence keeps you guessing and on the edge of your seat the entire time, you shouldn’t feel bad because the actors in the movie felt the same way. The filming process was rapid-fire because they completed principal photography for the movie in just five days at Byrkit’s house. This dynamic and jazz-like approach to filmmaking shows through in the final product, and it’s perfect for a multiverse film that can go anywhere at any time with its plot.
Some people have compared Coherence to projects like The Twilight Zone and the mind-bending time-travel film Primer if that gives you any idea of what to expect. In short, if you like your sci-fi films to be heady and twisty, you should try this one. It’s a very tight film, with a runtime of just 89 minutes.
Of course, you can also return to the MCU multiverse when Loki Season 2 hits Disney+ on October 6. In the meantime, you should give Coherence a shot if the multiverse is a concept you like seeing in TV and film. Head over to Amazon Prime Video now to stream it.