Psychological thrillers have always transcended boundaries, taken risks and ultimately strived to completely surprise audiences. Some films take the risks and twists seriously, some lack the luster-- “The Perfection” is certainly not the latter. Netflix’s newest horror masterpiece starring Allison Williams is certainly one for the books. Audiences already go into this genre knowing that nothing is quite what it seems, however, “The Perfection” truly masters hiding the intentions of the plot and characters up until the very last scene. Williams sat down with Metro to talk about the thrilling film, delve into why the story is so compelling and overall discuss why viewers gravitate towards chaotic storylines.
Allison Williams gives the scoop on Netflix's latest bone-chilling thriller 'The Perfection'
“The Perfection” dives into the world of professional cellists and their ultimate strive for perfection that leads them to do... questionable things. Taking on the role of Charlotte, a once-promising musical prodigy who had to leave her illustrious career behind to look after her ailing mother took full-time preparation for Williams, both emotionally and technically. “I played the piano when I was younger so I had a familiarity with music in general, but I never, other than for an episode of “Girls” had to play a string instrument. It was so much more challenging than I could even imagine. We didn’t have a ton of time for it but we had to learn the songs and actually look like we were really good at playing them, that was the biggest piece of the preparation,” says Williams. “Also big, honestly, was working through the script and nailing down every detail and just finding clarity on every point because the movie moves in such an unchronological way and because the point of view changes so many times. What the audience knows as true or is supposed to believe shifts throughout time.”
Having the audience believe one thing and then changing their mind the next scene can prove to be difficult when portraying a character, “It’s a real challenge for an actor to try to make sure what the audience needs to see at any given moment will also ring true when they do know everything or if they see it again,” says Williams. But putting on a “mask” or even hiding the true intentions of Charlotte isn’t the most far off point of the plot. “In this movie, in particular, it was very fun meeting the person that Charlotte wanted us to think she was and then see the person who she is more at her core.”
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The most compelling parts about psychological and horror thrillers aren’t even the outlandish actions or unbelievable circumstances (which this film exemplifies in many scenes), it’s more so the points in the story that are quite extreme at the surface, but almost ring true to everyday life. Throughout the film, viewers begin to realize that what appears on the surface for the characters isn’t exactly what is brewing underneath, and then some."It’s obviously heightened for this movie and this genre, but I would say that most human beings are like that, there are very few people who are 100% consistent across every circumstance. I think all characters have that layering, that mask wearing moment-- it’s just not every script gives you the room to do it.”
Setting this thriller in the world of professional musicians was an easy fit, the story takes a closer look at cello prodigies and how their life is centered around the normally deemed impossible-- perfection. “Music is an artistic and creative endeavor, and yes, these girls have been trained in a way where perfection is possible. Not only that, it’s meant to be the chief goal, it’s obtainable and it’s expected of them,” says Williams. “The thing that turns it on its head is the idea that music is an expression and an emotional state. So I was always fascinated that this academy that is so renowned is also removing the freedom of being a musician and being able to express yourself in a way that is so genuinely emotional because you’re always worried about being perfect. I think that’s something a lot of people can relate to in many different ways no matter what field they are in and no matter what they do in their lives.”
“The Perfection” shows just how extreme the human spirit can be and also shows the desperation of its characters, William’s Charlotte certainly displays her own acts of despair, which in her world was the only option. “You see the emotional and psychological turmoil that she experiences in the movie, you see the evidence of it. But you also see someone who is left with a single mission in her life and comes up with a very, I’ll say, unique way of executing it—it makes sense with the logic she is using.”
“The Perfection” is not for the faint of heart, or even for those with a weak stomach. The film challenges what we all believe to be “true” and even heightens what is a fact with all of us-- that nothing is ever really as it seems.
“Within the genre of psychological thrillers, this type of power dynamic can be dealt with in a way that we aren’t accustomed to, thus it changes the type of conversations we are having. Especially if you get stuck in this groove and the story comes in and changes it, I think people find that appealing,” says Williams. “People go into psychological thrillers knowing that there might be twists and turns and nothing will be as it seems and they’re not going to know what’s coming, but also knowing that maybe they’ll have the opportunity afterward to think and talk about it and engage with the subject matter they aren’t used to talking about and putting it in a whole new context, which is often refreshing, and necessary.”
“The Perfection” drops on Netflix on May 24th.