I was disappointed by this movie. After seeing the preview, I had hoped that it would be a good counterpoint to the equally disappointing Martha Marcy May Marlene, but this film had a whole different set of problems.
it started out promising. The setup was sound, and the two main protagonists were believable, at least in the beginning. As the movie progressed, though, it really started to unravel.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The character of Maggie never felt developed enough to inspire leadership. While she had an interesting, if unbelievable backstory, she really lacked the charisma and power to control a group of people. Which leads to the next problem, which was a lack of menace. The movie touched on this a bit, such as when Peter's transmitter was almost discovered during the vomit episode, but the movie was mostly void of that helpless and tense feeling that could have benefitted the movie.
It didn't help that we never got a strong sense of any real following. We only witnessed a small group of cultist, most of whom were allowed so much freedom that it was hard to justify the involvement of the feds.
Which leads to another problem - the dishonesty of the narrative. We're meant unnecessarily meant to wonder about the character of Carol. When we see her going through the thorough step-by-step process of retrieving the carefully hidden documents that she was traveling with. By the end of the movie, we know that she's legit, so why all the subterfuge? Who might have been spying on here during her travels? Or in the hotel room? The cult isn't so widespread that they would present a reasonable threat to her or her investigation. It's not as though she was trying to infiltrate the group, so showing her paranoia felt like a cheap hook to heighten tension.
And then there's the ending, which really felt like a grafted-on, artificial shock ending.
I really wanted to like this movie, but just couldn't. Filled with potential, but falling under it's own fractured structure, it just can't deliver on it's promise.