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The Manifestation

By Michael Talbot-Haynes | March 11, 2024

Written and directed by Geert Heetebrij, The Manifestation is a stylish reality-bending thriller. Admittedly, calling this a thriller is an understatement, as this is a slippery beast to classify. This is because the filmmaker warps the reality established within the movie. A lot of scenes skew scary, brimming with an invigorating hybrid of supernatural and psychological horror. It’s a much more sophisticated kind of genre flick, the kind that strikes without spilling a drop of blood.

It follows Stephen (Jack Kesy), who makes all the wrong trades in the stock market and is on the brink of losing everything. All the money he secretly raided from the accounts Stephen shared with his wife, Roni (Inbar Lavi), is gone. He begs his financial guru, Michael (Usman Ally), to advance him the coaching needed to get above water. Instead, Michael cuts him off, metaphorically kicking Stephen out of the nest so that he can learn to fly.

Desperate, Stephen uses what Michael taught him about visualizing and manifesting his dreams to create Veronika (Lavi) an imaginary stock consultant that looks like his wife when they met. Her hair is a fiery red, and she is a lot more ruthless than his wife. When Veronika’s tips all pay off, he lets her talk him into snatching Roni’s student loan money to sink into the market. Roni is furious, especially when she finds out how Stephen lost all their other money. As their relationship is tested, Veronika keeps growing in importance as Stephen’s secret of success. She whispers in his ear, becoming more and more real to Stephen and then to others.

When Veronika’s tips all pay off, he lets her talk him into snatching Roni’s student loan money…”

We need more features like The Manifestation. Heetebriji starts at full speed with an instantly relatable premise unfurled like a pirate flag in no time flat. It turns out bread and butter matters like household finances can be a huge engagement engine. Too often, the daily struggle of the viewer is left out of cinematic stories, and that is a shame, as its trials of survival are instantly identifiable. The crystal clear scene compositions look so crisp throughout. Right off the bat, the director follows two of the golden rules for a successful indie film: waste no time and look great. The creamy topping is the splendid electronic score by Drew Denton. Your eyebrows will rise and fall with Denton’s waves of seraphic melodies.

Lavi proves excellent in her dual role. Yes, the superficial difference is a red wig, but the two couldn’t be more different. The cold evil energy of a burning moon radiates from Veronika, while Roni is a real woman with authentic reactions to all the s**t going down. Lavi gives each persona her all, forging two distinct impressions of this talented actress.

Many movies rip throats out, but rare is the one that rips out the underpinnings of existence so viciously. I am still rolling the ending over in my head as it is freaking me out. It is a finale as mysterious and confounding as the one in VideodromeThe Manifestation is an intriguingly chilling indie wonder that aims and hits high and has a number of intriguing twists.

The Manifestation (2024)

Directed and Written: Geert Heetebrij

Starring: Inbar Lavi, Jack Kesy, Usman Ally, Maura Gale, Jeanne Taylor, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

The Manifestation Image

"…intriguingly chilling indie wonder..."

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