By now, everyone has heard of or tried one of those cleansing diets to rid their body of harmful toxins. A trend sweeping the world, what if there was a cleanse that not only rid you of gluten, dairy, and refined sugar, but toxic memories that hold you back? Exploring that very concept, Writer and Director Bobby Miller (Tub 2010, End Times 2018) offers audiences a strange little film entitled, you guessed it, The Cleanse.
Set for release in theaters and On Demand Friday, May 4, 2018 through Vertical Entertainment/Sony Pictures, The Cleanse takes the idea that we can flush our bodies and minds clean to a whole new level. The kicker is you will never guess what happens once you actually start the program. Want to find out, perhaps join the retreat? Read on…
In this tale, there is an average guy named Paul Berger (Johnny Galecki: Roseanne series, Big Bang Theory series) who is down and out, jobless and reeling from an ended relationship. Searching for a way to start fresh and find happiness, Paul learns about a cleansing spiritual retreat through a late night TV ad. Desperate to make a change, he follows through and goes on the retreat along with a group of very different people, attending for very different reasons.
There is Maggie (Anna Friel: Bathory: Countess of Blood 2008, The Look of Love 2013) a stand-offish young woman, the quiet Laura (Diana Bang: Lost Lagoon 2012, Paranormal Solutions Inc. series) and her smart-ass boyfriend Eric (Kyle Gallner: Big Love series, Outsider’s series), all joining the cleanse for their personal own reasons. Together, the group quickly finds that after drinking a cycle of their own personalities mason jars of fluid, their cleanse not only flushes out their system of aforementioned toxins, it pushes out a little creature as well. That is right, to everyone’s surprise a cute little reptilian looking creature emerges from their bodies.
Naturally freaked out at first, each participant become strangely attached to the creature, even while it seems to grow at a rapid pace. Paul, being a gentle-natured person, treats it like a baby and even feeds it chocolate. Maggie and Eric hang out with theirs as well, but Laura unfortunately does not finish her cycle, resulting in disaster. Speaking of disaster, a little creature emerging from vomiting can only end badly, right? Finding that out as time goes by, Paul and Maggie are left with the dilemma of what to do as their little monsters continue to grow out of control into a massive beast. Will it consume them before it is too late?
A very bizarre story, The Cleanse also has the star power of Anjelica Huston (The Witches 1990, The Addams Family 1991) as the retreat leader and Oliver Platt (The Three Musketeers 1993, Lake Placid 1999) as the program’s founder, Ken Roberts. Adding even more intrigue to the cast, each actor and actress play their roles magically.
Beyond such, the film is chock-full of metaphors that are quite clever. For one, the little creature represents our inner demons, the ones that hold us back from moving forward. Additionally, their rapid physical growth symbolizes our nature to allow these feelings to fester inside, letting them mount up, eventually crippling us. It is up to us to let go of the past and move forward, and that pretty much the message of The Cleanse in a twisted, fantastical way.
Different, The Cleanse is a mix of Dark Comedy and Horror. In fact, it feels like a lengthy version of a Twilight Zone or Outer Limits episode. Off-beat at times, it really makes you think about your real life environment and the life you are creating for yourself. We are all guilty of having negative feelings, and for some odd reason hold on to them. Miller’s story vividly exemplifies this in a creative, original manner well-worth indulging in. Walking away from the film feeling refreshed, CrypticRock gives The Cleanse 4 out of 5 stars.