Cult escape drama The Aviary is as lost as its characters

The Aviary. // Courtesy of Saban Films

The Aviary is a new indie drama thriller that’s on video-on-demand starting today. In it, two women on the run from a cult find themselves trapped in an endless desert expanse of New Mexico, processing their grief while trying to escape their situations – both in the final years of their brainwashing and in the quiet desert of -la grille.

Malin Akerman and Lorenza Izzo are the two actresses you will spend the whole film with. Occasional flashes of their enigmatic cult leader (played by Chris Messina) will burst into their reality. Other than that, there is only one other actor who makes an appearance in the entire movie.

It is a very solitary space for very lonely people.

that of the aviary The trail from escaping the clutches of a powerful cult to dealing with degrees of guilt, shame, blame and disconnection from reality is small in production but big in emotional reach.

While the filmmakers nod to adapt elements of this from the events surrounding the NVIXM cult that have fallen in recent years, references to the brand and men using women against other women are more prominent in the film. meta-emotional exploration, and less in the “torn from the headlines” to explore these interpersonal dynamics.

The Aviary is the cutting edge COVID production film. Two actresses in the middle of nowhere doing mostly small theater work, rare appearances from a bigger name and little else. Your mileage may vary depending on the few features rolled out since the lockdown began, and this movie doesn’t pretend it’s anything more.

If you meet him on his terms, it’s an interesting deep dive into group trauma. If you’re expecting a feature that brings a lot of new ideas into the conversation, you’ll be disappointed.

It is the feature debut from Chris Cullari and Jennifer Raite, who as writers and creators have collaborated with Blumhouse and have upcoming projects and pilots in development with Universal Television, The CW and CBS.

We really appreciate their approach to storytelling when they have next to nothing to work with other than two charismatic leads. We’ll be excited to see what they can do when the shackles of COVID limitations are removed.


The Aviary is now available to rent or buy on most VOD streaming services.