Clock had the potential to be an excellent work of feminist horror, except that writer/director Alexis Jacknow fails to pull all her ideas together in a way that’s sufficiently disturbing. The main character is Ella Patel (Dianna Agron), a woman with no desire to have children. All her friends think she’s crazy. Husband Aidan (Jay Ali) claims to be okay with it, although she suspects he’d like kids, deep down.
Ella begins to wonder if her biological clock is simply broken and, if so, whether it can be fixed. A gynecologist recommends she attend a clinic run by Dr. Elizabeth Simmons (Melora Hardin), a physician doing cutting-edge work on that front. Telling Aiden she’s going on a business trip, Ella checks in. Things go okay at first, with promises of miracle cures, but then she starts to question some of Dr. Simmons’ methods. Do you think the doc is up to something shady? It’s a horror movie, so of course she is.
Entering the clinic is the point where Clock should start to grow suspenseful. Instead, it’s the point where it begins to fall apart. Methods used by Dr. Simmons are never explained. She just tells Ella to swallow a pill, get in a tank, and so on. Rather than feeling a jittery vibe from the techniques she uses, we only end up wondering what the point is. None are played to maximize their creep-out potential. As for Ella’s side effects from those techniques, they’re standard horror stuff, such as hallucinations of a spooky lady. We’ve seen it all before.
A lack of logic impedes the movie further. For example – and I’ll be as vague as possible here - Dr. Simmons insists Ella get an implant that later has an unpleasant impact when she has sex with Aidan. If the point is to get her pregnant, why would she suggest this? Baffling moments like that are present throughout, right up to the nonsensical ending. As if all this wasn’t enough, Jacknow introduces Ella’s father Joseph (Saul Rubinek), who talks a lot about the Holocaust. That horrific event ends up factoring into the central mystery, serving as a reminder that the Holocaust should never be tossed into light entertainment without a good reason.
Dianna Agron and Melora Hardin give fine performances amid the nonsense. They’re just another reason to wish that Clock had more depth and coherence than it does. If the movie possessed the courage to develop its themes to the fullest, it could have spoken powerfully to female viewers and scared the hell out of the men.
out of four
Clock is unrated, but contains adult language and violence. The running time is 1 hour and 31 minutes.