All That We Destroy, the latest feature-length episode in the Blumhouse-Hulu venture Into the Dark, takes the notion of a mother’s powerful and unconditional love and turns it on its head with chilling and twisted results.
Set in an unnamed future, the film tells the story of Dr. Victoria Harris (Samantha Mathis), a brilliant geneticist with a specialization in cloning whose company has patented a process for cloning organs for human transplant. She lives in an idyllic desert home with her son Spencer (Israel Broussard).
Spencer is a socially awkward yet talented artist. He also happens to be a cold-blooded killer, and we learn in the first five minutes of the episode that Victoria has begun cloning his first murder victim (Aurora Perrineau) again and again in an attempt to assuage his need to kill.
Written by writing duo Sean Keller and Jim Agnew, All That We Destroy marks the feature directorial debut of Chelsea Stardust. For her part, the director proves that she has what it takes to bring out great performances from her cast and is adept at slowly building tension in a subtly organic way from a mixture of action and character.
It doesn’t hurt that her cast is equally brilliant.
At its core, the film is about the duality in all of us, and the film’s leads underline this beautifully.
Broussard’s Spencer is completely believable as a socially inept, shy young man who creates beautiful art. He chafes against his mother’s constant monitoring, but no more than any other young man would. All of this makes his sudden killing rages seem even more intense.
The actor, who previously starred in Happy Death Day and Happy Death Day 2U, proves that he has what it takes to be a start.
Mathis is equally believable as the dedicated scientist and the desperate mother. As she begins to modify her experiments in the cloning process, and further, actually begins grooming the human clones to be more “real” in order to satiate her son’s need for violence, she becomes just as sinister as Spencer.
And then there’s Perrineau who gives a remarkable performance as Ashley, Spencer’s repeated victim. In her life before, she was a bit of a wild child with a criminal record, but there is a palpable vulnerability in each of her iterations as a clone.
Slowly, this duality seeps into the viewer, as well. We are frustrated by these people, afraid of their capabilities, and yet there is a genuine sympathetic response.
We know that what this mother and son are doing is wrong…but how wrong is it if he’s essentially killing the same person over and over again?
The fact that we ask ourselves the question while watching proves just how well Stardust and her cast and crew performed their jobs.
All That We Destroy is available to stream on Hulu. Check out the trailer below!