Rob Schroeder’s feature debut ‘Ultrasound’ is now available on digital platforms, and it is well worth your time. A trippy, mind-melting thriller about sex, power, politics, and consent. A wild ride of nested realities that quite frankly demands a second viewing so you can see how cleverly this puzzle box of a movie was constructed.
It begins with Glen (Vincent Kartheiser) driving his car on a rainy night. He drives over a spike-strip forcing him to stop outside the house of Art (Bob Stephenson) and his young wife Cyndi (Chelsea Lopez). They are incredibly gracious hosts, and offer him a place to stay for the night. But then the discussion turns to sleeping arrangements, and that’s when things start to get really interesting. Art tells Glen that he will take the couch, insisting that Glen should sleep with Cyndi. An undisclosed amount of time later, Art turns up at Glen’s apartment saying Cyndi is pregnant.
Elsewhere, a young girl Katie (Rainey Qualley) is the mistress of a powerful Republican senator seeking re-election. She’s being kept off the grid in a secret apartment, and she keeps having visions that she is heavily pregnant. While all this is going on, therapist Shannon (Breda Wool) is working in a medical institution of some sorts, on a project experimenting with sound frequencies that can be used to influence and suggest.
To say anymore would take away some of the fun, but it’s fair to say this isn’t the film you think it’s going to be. The continuously twisting mystery of the plot can be quite frustrating at times, but it is constantly surprising, and never anything but entertaining. The woozy lighting and cinematography by Matthew Rudenberg, combined with the amazingly textured score and sound design come together to create a unique sensory experience. If you’re watching on a PC or laptop, I highly recommend using headphones to capture the full effect.
Adapted from his own graphic novel, Conor Stechschulte’s screenplay taps into some truly terrifying ideas about the manipulation of reality, memory, and most horrifying of all, bodily autonomy. There’s arguably a bit too much material for the film to chew on, but Stechschulte and Schroeder have crafted a really interesting indie sci-fi thriller here, pulsing with dread and paranoia.