“Convergence” begins with that politically-correct premise. Is this what the indie world has to offer, storylines that play into MSNBC’s preferred narrative regarding terrorism?
Full stop. “Convergence,” in select theaters and coming to home video and VOD Feb. 9, isn’t quite what it appears. In fact, nothing is what it appears in this jumbled horror entry. That’s both refreshing and maddening as the story takes shape.
What we find at the end is a shrug, not a revelation. It’s all barely worth the occasionally impressive setup.
Clayne Crawford plays Detective Ben Walls, forced to leave his wife and young child behind when an explosion rocks a women’s health clinic. He’s on the scene when a second bomb goes off, sending the detective to the hospital.
The Christian terrorist behind the attack, given a ferocious spin by Ethan Embry, is in that very same hospital. Who else is there, and why? And what’s the source behind all those flickering lights, a movie tell that supernatural shenanigans are afoot?
The mysteries pile up so quickly we know Ben’s reality can’t be trusted. What follows is an awkward mashup of torture porn snippets and action beats with little consequence. The Bible-thumping villain spouts dialogue that never reveals anything worth hearing.
A sense of redemption echoes through the hospital. The story’s convoluted sense of logic won’t let it build to a crescendo. Instead, it’s more torture and tormented souls batting for some narrative clarity.
DID YOU KNOW: Ethan Embry is a tattoo aficionado. He doesn’t love all of his tats, though. His reason for the Chinese character on his wrist? ‘Because it was the early nineties and I was 15.’
Writer/director Drew Hall seems intrigued by both religion’s dark side and its ability to heal. And he’s able to unnerve us with clever staging and haunting visuals. The sight of a perky nurse becomes unsettling, abetted by a score that apes other horror soundtracks to credible effect.
Ben’s home life, given just a few minutes of screen time, is elegantly framed. What a shame it connects to a finale with so little emotional heft.
Crawford is handed a near-impossible acting assignment. He’s never anything but committed, and he keeps “Convergence” from falling into parody. Supporting players like “Justified’s” Mykelti Williamson register as grounded, too, despite the swirling narrative.
“Convergence” isn’t kind to organized religion. It’s much tougher on its audience, making them endure plenty without a reveal worthy of their patience.