The Cleanse (2016) Movie Review

Director: Bobby Miller

Writer: Bobby Miller (Screenplay)

Starring: Johnny Galecki, Anna Friel, Kyle Gallner, Anjelica Huston, Diana Bang, Kevin J O’Connor, Oliver Platt

Plot: A heartbroken man attends a spiritual retreat to cleanse himself and fix his broken life. There he meets a fellow lost soul, and together they discover that “the cleanse” releases more than everyday toxins…a lot more.


Tagline – We all have our demons.

Runtime: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Strange

Story: The Cleanse starts when a depressed man Paul (Galecki) signs up for a treatment, which see him getting cleansed under Ken Roberts (Platt) program, this sees Paul head off on a retreat with other damaged people Maggie (Friel), Eric (Gallner) and Laurie (Bang).

As the treatment continues, Paul learns about a small creature that has come from inside him, learning that the others in the camp have one too, as they grow, they seem to show the difficulty of carrying unwanted feelings inside them.

Thoughts on The Cleanse

Characters – Paul is a heartbroken man that is looking everywhere for a way to shake the feeling of pain he has, he is a nervous person, turning to this new idea, where he doesn’t agree with everything to start with before understanding just what it means to let go. Maggie is another person that has joined the retreat, she has her own problems, not willing to discuss her own problems with anyone else there. Lily and Ken are the two that run the retreat, they have a method which will only surprise the members of the camp.

PerformancesJohnny Galecki in the leading role doesn’t do enough to shake off his sitcom figure we have stayed with him, Anna Friel does bring an interesting character, when we do get to learn about her, with Oliver Platt and Anjelica Huston bring the quirky side required for her role.

StoryThe story here follows four people that have been suffering with their own pains in life, they turn to an original therapy, only it has a side effect they had never planned for. The story here focuses on just how difficult dealing with unneeded built up emotions can cause a halt in life and needing to learn to deal with it, will be the only way to move on with life, this uses the representation of the small creature to show how it will continue to build it up, until you learn to cleanse it.

Comedy/Fantasy/HorrorThe comedy in the film comes from the little creatures, that just give us laughs when little moments of interactions occur, the horror does come just how far the creature might start getting their own minds if let to grow too much.

SettingsThe film takes us to a camp in the middle of the woods, this does show us just how the people will need to escape the problems in life, with the location needing to help them clear out their mind.


Scene of the Movie – The first appearance of the creature.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It doesn’t seem to get the full message across.

Final Thoughts This is a quirky little film that doesn’t quite reach the message it is trying to get across well enough.

Overall: Quirky and Strange.