Review: 'Perception', A Supernatural Thriller That Never Hits The Mark

Perception is the latest film to take a stab at examining the afterlife and our interactions with it. Daniel (Wes Ramsey) is a hotshot real estate developer who is flying through the ranks of his company – everything is just coming up roses for him professionally. On a personal level he is grieving the loss of his wife, but he is putting all his focus on work to try and avoid dealing with the pain. A new development project leads him into a local psychic shop. The whole block is going to be torn down and Daniel is the bearer of bad news. Nina (Meera Rohit Kumbhani), a psychic herself, senses the spirit of Maggie (Caitlin Mehner) – Daniel’s deceased wife who was an up-and-coming local artist. Nina offers Daniel a free reading where she is able to feel Maggie’s presence and lets David know that Maggie’s spirit is following him. David immediately pushes Nina for more and to engage with Maggie, but Nina resists. Nina warns David that these connections take time to develop so more sessions were needed – with these extra sessions not being on the house of course.

For as successful and well-off as Daniel is, Nina is the opposite. She is having trouble making ends meet – behind on rent and bills and just trying to get by. What better way to help turn her situation around than a repeat customer with a lot of money, who is willing to pay whatever it takes to get what he wants… As Nina and Daniel’s sessions continue, she begins to see that Maggie is a dark and angry presence. Nina is reluctant to continue, but Daniel convinces her and the amount of money she is making is life changing. Daniel insists that she channel Maggie, a difficult feat that will cost him thousands of dollars – but money is no object for a chance to reconnect with his wife. Nina and Daniel’s dangerous game is affecting everyone, as Nina’s son Hugo begins to exhibit stranger and stranger behaviors, including drawings that are eerily similar to ones that Maggie had in her own studio. Nina and Daniel are selfishly continuing to engage in these sessions, each with their own agendas, no matter how disastrous the consequences are becoming.  

Perception has an interesting premise, but it never really delivers to it’s full potential. Writer/director Ilana Rein and writer Brian Smith weave Daniel and Maggie’s backstory through flashbacks Nina sees during their sessions, an interesting stylistic choice that helps move the film along. The acting is not terrible, it is far from top notch, but for a lower budget film it is more than serviceable. The film is predictable, but even with knowing what is going to happen, it still manages to be relatively entertaining. Thrillers do not need to be full of blood and gore, or cheap scares, to be successful and  Perception fully embraces this belief – however it may embrace it a little too much, not delivering any memorable scares or truly tense moments. When the dust settles, Perception is a middle of the road thriller that had a chance to be much more than it was. This is one you can wait to watch on Netflix and not think twice about.

Rating: 2 out of 5