Merger cashes in on the deadly potential of the phrase, “It’s just business.” A throwback to aesthetic of retro medical thrillers, the film follows a company researcher named Kevin (Sasha Andreev) who suspects his co-worker Andy (Ryan Sandberg) of shady business dealings. When he sneaks into Andy’s hotel room to search for clues, he finds himself trapped in the closet when Any returns, leading to a deadly confrontation.
Andreev—who looks like a cross between Jason Schwartzman and The Irishman’s Louis Cancelmi—is perfect in his portrayal of Kevin, from his small frame and bespectacled face. He pales in comparison when confronted by the aggressive Andy.
Period detail enhances this tale of corporate espionage. From the costuming to set design, the immersion into a late 1970s/early ’80s David Cronenberg-inspired aesthetic is convincing (aside from the Land Rover Discovery shown at the end of the film). But the point is about feeling nostalgia for the type of filmmaking that inspired the creative team.
One of Merger’s most impressive aspects is the overall aesthetic created by Director of Photography Marcus Taplin and post-production Colorist Oscar Oboza. Not only is Taplin inventive with camera angles in limited spaces, Taplin and Oboza’s use of primary colors creates outstanding set pieces. Awash in blues, reds, greens, and whites, Merger conveys the atmosphere and dread similarly to Dario Argento’s Suspiria and Inferno. In addition, the film’s comic-serious tone is complemented by a mixture of synthwave, classical, and original music compositions.
At points, the film is slightly heavy-handed in the delivery of its themes, most evident in Kevin’s voiceover and a televangelist preacher’s (Bruce Purcell) quoting of the Book of Revelation. In addition, the reveal of Andy’s scheme via dialogue is not particularly original; however, this trope of the genre is easily forgivable.
Screenwriter Jonathan Howell and Director Matt Genesis manage to create a unique vision that is not weighed down by references to its inspirations. Highly recommended for viewers looking for a fun, intelligent, and visually engaging experience.
9 out of 10 stars
- “Merger cashes in on deadly potential of the phrase, ‘It’s just business.’”
- “Awash in blues, reds, greens, and whites, Merger conveys atmosphere and dread similarly to Dario Argento’s Suspiria and Inferno.
- “From the costuming to set design, the immersion into a late 1970s/early ’80s David Cronenberg-inspired aesthetic is convincing.”
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