Hold on tight for this Netflix thriller that's full of unexpected turns

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Full of surprises, twists, and devilish turns, "The Perfection" is a crafty, stylish little revenge thriller with nastiness on its mind. 

Allison Williams is Charlotte, a former cello prodigy who gave up music to care for her ailing mother. In her absence, Lizzie ("Dear White People's" Logan Browning) has ascended the ladder, and is the star student of prominent music teacher Anton (Steven Weber).   

Charlotte meets up with Lizzie in Shanghai where they confess their mutual adoration for one another, and they're soon steaming up their hotel room together. The next day, Lizzie is nursing a nasty hangover from which she can't quite recover, a brutal headache and an upset stomach soon turning to much, much worse.

It isn't fair to say much more, but co-writer and director Richard Shepard (a TV veteran who directed Williams on HBO's "Girls") is clearly having fun playing with genre possibilities and expectations. He crafts several sequences of jaw-dropping intensity and continually contorts the story until he settles on a bold tale of empowerment, which is unexpected considering his starting line and several stops along the way.

Williams, underrated as the bait in "Get Out," does a stellar job of playing her cards close to her chest — she's alternately cool, shy, ruthless, cunning and caring — and Browning does strong work as her foil. 

It's not just that Shepard sends viewers on a wild ride, it's that he doesn't tell them what kind of ride they're on until it's already in full swing. He's the mad conductor who keeps "The Perfection" on track around every hairpin corner.

'The Perfection'

GRADE: A-

Rated TV-M: Violence, gore, nudity, sexuality 

Running time: 91 minutes

On Netflix

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama

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