Written and directed by Sean Ellis, The Broken is an interesting and impressive horror movie that takes a number of well-worn genre tropes and blends them into something more than the sum of its parts. It doesn't become entirely fresh and unmissable, but it deserves to be discovered by horror fans after something that doesn't feature zombies, ghosts/demons or found footage.
Lena Headey stars as Gina McVey, a radiologist who finds her life turned upside down one day when she spots someone who looks exactly like her. Exactly. As she follows the doppelganger to find out just what's going on she gets herself hurt in a bad car crash.Then things start getting stranger and stranger.
Heady does her usual good work in the lead role, and she's supported by a cast of varying quality - the great Richard Jenkins does well with his limited screentime, Melvil Poupaud is okay, as is Michelle Duncan, and Asier Newman makes a memorable impression as Daniel McVey, Gina's brother.
There are some well-signposted jump scares, placed in the movie as if the director was contractually obliged to include them, but the majority of the movie is more concerned with setting an uneasy, off-kilter, mood. Writer-director Ellis walks a nice line between the requirements (cliches) of the genre and many moments that provide some food for thought alongside the chills.
As events unfold, viewers might understandably feel slightly underwhelmed. There is at least one major plot point that many could see coming wayyyyyyy down the line and the tension builds up only to be deflated during the last 10 minutes or so. But this is not a film about individual scares or a barnstorming finale. This is a film about a journey, and that journey is an interesting one.
As the end credits rolled, I considered my rating for the movie and was initially going to settle on something that would signify it as average or just above average, but the more I thought about everything I'd just watched the more I realised I'd been quietly and consistently impressed. I don't expect everyone to enjoy it as much as I did, but I do encourage others to seek it out and give it a go.