starring Christopher Abbott, Mia Wasikowska, Laia Costa, Olivia Bond
written and directed by Nicolas Pesce
by Walter Chaw Opening with a vintage "Feature Presentation" bumper and sporting a couple of lengthy, giallo-inspired transitions scored by vintage needle-drops (Goblin's Tenebrae theme pops up at one point), Nicolas Pesce's Piercing is hamstrung by a peculiar lack of energy and the casting of Mia Wasikowska, who can be very good in a particular type of role (Damsel, Stoker) but is just as often miscast (Alice in Wonderland, Crimson Peak). Piercing wants to be a psychosexual pas de deux between broken people looking to quiet some demons and ends up holding no real surprises over too long a period. It does begin well, as schlubby Reed (Christopher Abbot) thinks about shoving a knitting needle into his baby, who later tells him, in a surprising baritone, to kill a hooker. If only the picture had carried through on that promise to be arthouse Larry Cohen rather than listless De Palma. Alas, once Reed packs his bags for a business trip, makes notes on how he's going to do the deed, and solicits high-priced escort Jackie (Wasikowska), it's clear that Piercing is going to be lugubrious at best and declining at worst. It's a tease. High-minded, arch, and, fatally, superior to the material.