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  • Jared Huizenga

‘Altered Perception’ is proof that not every story needs to be told

Over the years I’ve become a champion of independent, local and/or low-budget films. Understandably, they’re not for everyone, but many times you

see unique stories, “hear” fresh voices, and witness filmmaking ingenuity based solely on budgetary limitations.

I appreciate all of those things and want to promote them because larger outlets are likely to gloss over them.

Once in a while, however, even I have to draw a line in the sand. The most recent line belongs to “sci-fi thriller” “Altered Perception.”

“Altered Perception” follows four squabbling couples after they are selected to participate in a government trial of a drug designed to essentially people to get out of their own heads.

The drug is billed as something to correct the false perceptions people develop following traumatic life experiences. Presumably helping abuse victims, soldiers with PTSD, etc., the government is also hoping to use it to de-escalate political tensions around the globe.

While the drug works with the couples – to varying degrees – they also experience some of the side effects – memory loss, self-doubt, and (in some cases) irritability and irrational behavior. For some, the drug’s effects are simply too much to take and the repercussions are permanent.

In theory, this should be a good, or at least interesting movie. I mean, honestly, who doesn’t like brainwashing and mind control? Turns out, its goodness was only theoretical.

Everything about it – acting, dialogue, camera work, editing, lighting, sound – screams “Cinemax after Dark.” In fact, if there was more than one wholly unnecessary nude scene, I wouldn’t bat an eye if someone told me that was the intent all along.

The cherry on the sundae? It’s also incredibly boring.

Aside from the premise (again, good in theory), the only positive about “Altered Perception” is the music in the closing credits, the barely-over-an-hour runtime, and the aforementioned wholly unnecessary nude scene.

The movie’s tagline might be “The Truth Can Be Prescribed,” but after the longest 73 minutes in recent memory that I’ve spent watching a movie, the only prescription I was interested in was dangerously high levels of caffeine.

If you’re inclined to check out “Altered Perception” for yourself (although I wouldn’t recommend it), it opens May 4 at Emagine Lakeville and on VOD.

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