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Movie Review

Release Date: 04/29/22 (In Cinemas / VOD)
Genre: Thriller

Studio: Paramount Pictures


"Two women flee into the New Mexican desert to escape the clutches of an insidious cult. Consumed by fear and paranoia, they can't shake the feeling that they are being followed by its leader, a man as seductive as he is controlling. With their supplies dwindling and their senses starting to fail them, they are faced with a horrifying question: how do you run from an enemy who lives inside your head?"


The Aviary is a psychological horror/thriller that places you alongside two cult escapees traveling aimlessly through the desert. Malin Ackerman plays Jillian, the second-hand to the head of The Aviary who is a patient of a mysterious program. Similarly, her co-escapee Blair, played by Lorenza Izzo, has been subjected to the same mysterious program. 


With a hint of PTSD, a strong dose of paranoia, and the hypnotic experiment, what the head of the cult, Seth, had done to these two women made the escape so much more difficult than expected. The film is a jolt to the mind, and sitting at 96 minutes, the journey from one destination to the next has you looking over your shoulder again and again as the film is quickly on the move.


The Aviary might be labeled a thriller, but it’s truly a horror film at times. It traps the viewer in this nightmare the two have willingly, or not so willingly, placed themselves in. The film only has four actors in the entirety of the runtime, two of whom are strategically placed. Ackerman and Izzo make up most of the journey on their own, starving and dehydrated. Neither of these characters are particularly likable, and neither of them can be trusted, not even by themselves - which makes rooting for their survival complicated. 


Director/writer duo Chris Cullari and Jennifer Raite always have the viewer on their toes, never quite sure what is truly real and what is just part of a particular character’s psyche. The acting is top notch throughout, but the shocking finale may leave some unsure if the writers chose a copout ending over a truly satisfying conclusion.

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