Parents' Guide to

The Infernal Machine

By Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Psychological thriller has swearing, violence, trauma.

Movie R 2022 117 minutes
The Infernal Machine movie poster

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Although it never reaches the cinematic heights to similar classics, this psychological thriller is a solid if overlong delve into what makes a traumatized author tick. In The Infernal Machine, Pearce is reliably resolute as a gruff English retired writer based in rural California who's withdrawn from public life, after his controversial bestseller proved to have tragic consequences. The tension steadily increases for the first hour or so. But things start to unravel -- and not in a good way -- when the script can't manage much more than lengthy, rambling exchanges between Bruce and various supporting players who start to become more important to the plot.

Pearce's irrepressible talent means that he just about manages to sell his character's muddled world view, despite being given little to work with on the page. But the movie's real undoing is the lack of a well-drawn adversary to play opposite him. This means that we never get the memorable moments provided by Seven, Misery, or the other movies that have a similar premise.

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