A woman screams in pain underneath a sterile exam room lighting.

Film Review: Clock

Film Reviews

Director: Alexis Jacknow

20th Digital Studio
Streaming: 04.28

Women have always faced constant pressure to have children as soon as they are able to, as it can be medically complicated the older a woman becomes to deliver a healthy child. As Ella, Dianna Agron faces pressure from all sides in Clock, a horror-thriller that fancies itself a modern version of Rosemary’s Baby. The only thing actually demonic about Clock is how poorly it imitates the sometimes horrific ideas of motherhood that Rosemary’s Baby presented while also focusing on the insecurities of struggling to become pregnant.

Ella has no desire and no plans to start a family. Her life as a successful interior designer with her hunky, surgeon husband (Jay Ali) seems perfect and leaves little more for the 37 year old to desire. Pressure from other mommy friends as well as her orthodox Jewish father (Saul Rubinek) moves Ella to seek out a clinical trial to fix her so-called broken biological clock. Under the direction of Dr. Elizabeth Simmons (Melora Hardin), Ella’s treatment takes a haunting and inevitably violent turn.

Even though Ella claims to not want or need children to everyone who presses her on the issue, writer-director Alexis Jacknow doesn’t give Ella a reason to want a child other than to appease her family and friends. Early on we see a montage of Ella living a fulfilling life—working, cooking, a passionate love life. When she eventually does ask a doctor about her lack of desire for children, Ella has to be convinced to look into the clinical trial rather than her being enthusiastic about wanting to seek treatment for her lack of desire to become pregnant. It’s a wasted opportunity for this 91-minute thriller, as it could’ve delved deeper into Ella’s insecurities and concerns about child rearing. Instead, Clock relies on using cheap horror tricks such as creepy characters and psychological and medical horrors rather than on showing the struggle. Agron does a good enough job portraying a woman struggling with these insecurities, but the screenplay does her no favors, and her performance suffers because of it.

That Clock does not delve deeper into the psychology of a woman who believes she’s past her prime trying to get pregnant is a wasted opportunity. The filmmakers even make a point to mention that there is a psychological element to trying to get pregnant, but all that amounts to is cheap scares, bad plot twists and disappointing story threads that make you wish you were watching better movies. –Eric Ray Christensen

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