Macabre…ish Horror Review: The Cleanse



The Cleanse, 2016/ 1 hr 20 min



A sad man named Paul Berger (Johnny Galecki) is struggling after losing his job and coping with the break up of a long relationship, goes to a seminar held by the Roberts Institute that promises to permanently cleanse negative energy. It seems a little shady and is in a room with a paper, handwritten sign pointing at the door that says ‘Let’s Get Pure!’


The people that show up have to share their stories in front of the group while being recorded, to determine who’s going on a retreat. They have to have a physical and if they receive a call, they’ve been accepted. And Paul gets the green light to go.


But first he has to sign a release, that he barely reads. The organization arranges a car and he arrives the next morning with the others. Including Maggie (Anna Friel) who Paul is immediately smitten by.


The group is greeted by a screaming, Lily (Anjelica Huston), she doesn’t stop screaming until everyone screams. She gives them all 4 jars of fluid that they must drink daily plus nutritional supplements. No other outside food is allowed. The foul tasting and smelling drinks are meant to purge them of negativity.


Throughout the day they take part in typical retreat activities while trying to choke down those beverages. And at night, they’re sick to the point of throwing up. Lily says it’s normal and part of the process, they are releasing negativity.


Paul notices his sink is backed up after he was sick in it. So he opens the pipe and finds…something. Whatever it is, it’s alive. And it apparently came out of him. He doesn’t know what to do but is assured it’s normal and that Ken Roberts (Oliver Platt) will explain when he arrives. So Paul decides to take care of it and feed it.


The others have one too. Maggie who’s totally freaked out and now wants to leave. Frederick’s (Kevin J O’Connor) is the biggest and scariest and he’s in rough shape after passing it. And everyday they each get a little bigger. Everyone to some degree is creating a bond with these creatures.


Eric (Kyle Gallner) is still at odds with his girlfriend, Laurie (Diana Bang) and his creature suddenly starts consuming itself. And he’s beside himself and has no idea why it’s happening.


Meanwhile, Paul and Maggie’s creatures become friends and they notice, they didn’t grow over night. Everyone seems to be progressing but Eric who has had a set back. And Laurie who never drank all her drinks because Eric drank them. But also, Maggie is there for different reason’s than she said and it’s a problem that needs to be addressed.


At the end of their program, they have to think of their shortcomings and what they have to do to complete the program. All except Laurie, who didn’t finish her cleanse and she also didn’t survive it.


Now, Paul and Maggie are ready to leave with their creatures in tow but Ken doesn’t want them leaving with them. It seems they were not told a lot about this retreat and what could happen. Specifically what could happen if the creatures are allowed to live.    



This fantasy horror was directed by Bobby Miller and it was pretty good. The cinematography and creature effects are good. I find it hard to consider this horror because it’s not scary, bloody, gory or even eerie. There’s a few moments that are disturbing and weird but that’s about it. It is a good movie though, I enjoyed