Netflix has landed another word-of-mouth hit thanks to writer-director Richard Shepard’s horror-thriller “The Perfection,” starring Allison Williams opposite “Dear White People” breakout Logan Browning. Williams stars as a troubled music prodigy who befriends Browning’s rising cellist for mysterious reasons. “The Perfection” ends with the two women teaming up to take down Steven Weber’s Anton, a world-renowned music teacher who is revealed to be a rapist. Anton sexually assaults his most gifted students, including Williams and Browning’s characters. The duo decide not to kill Anton but get revenge by amputating his legs and arms, sowing his mouth shut, and forcing him to listen to his students’ music for the rest of his life.
“Given how powerless they felt on that stage for so many years, to be back up there and take that power back while taking all of Anton’s away was the most poetic thing they could imagine,” Williams recently told Entertainment Weekly about the film’s graphic final twist. “By rendering Anton senseless — with the exception of his mind and ability to hear — they imprison him in a way that they felt silenced for so long — and he must listen. He has no choice. They have full control.”
Browning admitted that she originally pushed back on the idea to let Anton survive, even if he was going to now live in a mutilated state. As the actress explained, “I remember discussing and debating with Richard about whether or not Anton lives. I was adamant about the fact that I didn’t want him to live. After filming that, I wanted the satisfaction and catharsis of his life ending. Not that I agree with that in real life, but for the movie’s sake and that character’s trauma, I wanted him gone.”
“Richard thought it was important to have all of Anton’s access removed from him: We took all limbs — including what a man thinks is his most powerful limb — and only left his ears, forcing him to listen to women,” Browning continued. “He can hear their cello no matter how good or bad it is. It was very emotional for me because I know so many people in my life who have been abused in a variety of ways, specifically sexually, mentally, and physically. I felt like a superhero for everyone who’s ever experienced that.”
Williams agreed that leaving Anton alive was the most “fitting” ending because “it’s more torturous to put him through this” than to simply kill the character off. The “Girls” actress said it spoke to both characters’ “power, control, dominance, and urgency” that they would decide not to kill Anton but force him to have to listen to women for the rest of his life.
“He’s probably not long for the world,” Williams said of Anton. “In many ways, it’s more torturous to put him through this. It just makes it so that they can send him off totally on their own terms with having had a final say.”
“The Perfection” is now streaming on Netflix.