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Film Review: “Clock” Is Initially Brilliant, Then Crumbles

Written by: Adam Vaughn | April 28th, 2023

Film poster: “Clock”

Clock (Alexis Jacknow, 2023) 2½ out of 4 stars.

Hulu’s newest feature centers around the concept of motherhood: the social pressures of becoming a mother, the fear of childbirth, and the notion of creating the next generation. Such are the themes in Alexis Jacknow’s Clock, a film about architect and wife Ella (Dianna Agron, Acidman), who is pressured by her friend circle to be the next among them to have a baby. Unable to conceive with her husband Aiden (Jay Ali, The Illegal), Ella goes to a special fertility clinic in order to fix her “biological clock.” But as Ella takes treatment from Dr. Elizabeth Simmons (Melora Hardin, Love, Classified), she realizes that the clinic may use certain unorthodox methods that will disturb her mind in the most frightening ways.

Clock starts strongly, introducing the theme of a woman’s independence, and how often that freedom to choose to be a mother is thrust upon a woman by society. We see all the different angles via which Ella is pressured, including her friends, her husband, and her very traditional father (Saul Rubinek, A Magical Journey); these are natural and compelling motives to move the hero forward on her journey. Hardin as Dr. Simmons makes for a very gripping, clever antagonist, and a very chilling premise of a health institution gone terribly wrong makes for a unique presence of setting and scenario. Truly, the writing in the first half of the film succeeds in drawing the viewer in.

Dianna Agron in CLOCK. Courtesy of Hulu

As the story progresses, Jacknow starts to introduce spooky, supernatural elements to the story, as Ella experiences strange hallucinations and side effects. I thoroughly enjoyed the way Jacknow incorporates the mix of hallucinogenic side effects with Ella’s deepest fears, one of which pertains to her grandmother, a Holocaust survivor. There is much to unpack with Clock’s paranormal encounters, and that leads to very chilling moments based on well-explained backstory.

Sadly, as the film starts to put together all the pieces, it begins to unravel, leading to some unnecessarily tragic plot points. A few last-minute narrative twists throw the movie off track, and the final sequences are less than ideal, trying too hard to shock the viewer with moments that merely succeed in throwing away key characters. Just as Clock starts to get a solid momentum, Jacknow throws the viewer a wrench and sends the story down convenient plotlines, until the final image gives us a very confusing and unearned resolution.

Melora Hardin in CLOCK. Courtesy of Hulu

While  it may inevitably lose momentum, Clock still has plenty to say about the nature of motherhood, and I admire it as a character study for any woman who is constantly reminded of the pressures of becoming a mother. Naturally, fans of the genre will get their fill of jump scares and spookiness, and the overall performances from the main cast help to steer the film into the right direction. It may be flawed at times, but Jacknow’s Clock is no doubt still a solid staple in the psychological/thriller genre.


Adam Vaughn is a graduate of the Film & Moving Image program at Stevenson University, with a focus in Cinematography and Production. He also has a minor in Theater and Media Performance. Adam works as a freelance photographer and videographer, focusing his craft on creating compelling photographic and cinematic imagery. Adam is excited to join the Film Festival Today team and explore the world of cinema and visual arts.

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