A frustratingly terrible paranoia thriller, Distorted manages to waste a potentially intriguing premise and the star power of Christina Ricci and John Cusack. The former scores 98% of the film’s screen-time with an uninspired performance, while the latter is squandered in an extended cameo. Running a slim 86 minutes, Rob W. King’s film manages to feel about 45 minutes longer than that and the twists, turns and thrills fail to register on any level.
Ricci and Brendan Fletcher are Lauren and Russell, a well-off married couple who move into The Pinnacle, a fancy new ‘smart apartment building’ which pretty much runs life for you. Lauren is slowly recovering from a breakdown and Russell thinks she’s having a relapse when she begins to suspect there’s more to the building than meets the eye. She seeks help from Cusack’s mysterious Vernon, an investigative journalist she meets in an online chatroom. Can the two of them uncover the secrets of The Pinnacle?
John Cusack is one of the most charismatic actors around and Distorted wastes him in an underwritten and pretty much senseless role. This is obviously a paycheque gig for him, scoring a nice salary for a day or two on set. He clearly has no interst in being there, but the movie does get a slight spike when he pops up. Ricci too is saddled with a thankless role and also looks bored, or at the very least disinterested. She doesn’t appear to be putting in any effort as the troubled central character, just going through the motions. If Cusack and Ricci can’t be interested, why should we?
Distorted has the opportunity to be a curious cinematic potboiler, but a limited budget and lazy script means that its little more than a waste of time. There’s a twist at the end which you’ll see coming like you’ve been watching through the Hubble telescope and even that’s not presented in an interesting way.