Amerika

Cloned: The Recreator Chronicles (2012)

cloned_the_receator_chronicles

This film arises from the genre of mentally unsettling horror fiction, in which some assumption that modern people make about the world is challenged. While other reviews cover the basic film, this review looks at it thematically.

In brief, three teenagers take a weekend off to go to an island where, unbeknownst to them, the experiments of a scientist in cloning await them. They are cloned through an entirely novel (and somewhat gross) method, which adds hilarity to the film, and then encounter their clones: more confident versions of themselves. This touches the primary theme of the film, taken from the notes of the scientist:

The root of all problems is insecurity. Man’s quest to prove himself worthy, no matter the cost.

Cloned: The Recreator Chronicles takes aim at the “self-esteem culture” which has arisen in modern society as people desperately seek a way to feel better about their dying world, and also to find an explanation for its demise. In the 1970s, people thought it was a lack of creativity, but quickly switched to the idea that people merely lacked self-esteem, and so began a confidence-boosting message applied indiscriminately, as if its ultimate goal were to convince people of equality (it is).

The more confident clones seem to best their originals in every way, but at some point, the fallacy is revealed: they are simply more decisive, where the millennials exhibiting Generation X syndromes who are the originals are simply caught up in a web of neurosis and self-distrust. The characters must overcome that in order to escape and/or (ideally) fix the problem.

No spoilers here. What is interesting about the clones is how greater self-confidence manifests in the different sexes. The men become arrogant, but the woman adjusts to a more traditional role, losing the neurosis and hypergamy that her original retains. In this way, the movie tells us something about confidence culture: it can be ruinous, except for those who need more of it because they lack it, such as the rather feministy original who comes across as a harridan compared to her clone.

This film may not be for everyone, because unless you like slightly goofy horror that aims at disturbing your notions of the world, it could be a bit of a shock, but it explores a topic that in our Lefty times has been far overlooked. To that it adds an entertaining story with dimensions closer to classic horror and sci-fi of the 1950s than the more introspective, navel-gazing material of the present.

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