Piercing (film)

Piercing is a 2018 American horror thriller film written and directed by Nicolas Pesce, based on the novel of the same name by Ryū Murakami. It stars Christopher Abbott, Mia Wasikowska, and Laia Costa, and features Maria Dizzia, Marin Ireland, and Wendell Pierce in supporting roles.

Piercing poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNicolas Pesce
Produced by
Screenplay byNicolas Pesce
Based onPiercing
by Ryū Murakami
CinematographyZack Galler
Edited bySofía Subercaseaux
  • Paradise City
  • YL Pictures Co
  • Borderline Films
  • Memento Films
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • January 20, 2018 (2018-01-20) (Sundance)
  • February 1, 2019 (2019-02-01) (United States)
Running time
81 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$149,211[1]

Piercing had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2018 and was theatrically released on February 1, 2019, by Universal Pictures. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, with many praising the performances (particularly Abott and Wasikowska) and production values.


The film opens with Reed (Christopher Abbott), standing over his infant daughter with an ice pick. His wife sleeps across the room unaware. He is not going to kill the baby, but is practicing for a future murder. He has convinced them that he is going on a business trip, but actually intends to rent a hotel room, hire the services of a sex worker, and kill her, thereby redirecting his murderous impulses away from his child.

However, when the appointed time arrives, Jackie (Mia Wasikowska) has arrived instead of his intended victim. She brings with her a collection of kinky fetish gear and a sadistic impulse. After a bad first encounter, she hides in the bathroom, before the evening really begins to become crazy as the two engage in a twisted game of cat and mouse.



In February 2017, it was announced Christopher Abbott, Mia Wasikowska, Maria Dizzia, Marin Ireland and Wendell Pierce had joined the cast of the film, with Nicolas Pesce directing from a screenplay written by himself, based upon the novel of the same name by Ryū Murakami. Josh Mond, Antonio Campos, Schuyler Weiss, Jacob Wasserman, will produce the film, while Sean Durkin, Max Born, Avi Stern, Emilie Georges, Naima Abed, Al Di, Phil Hoelting will serve as executive producers under their Boderline Films, Memento Films, Paradise City, YL Pictures banners, respectively. Production concluded that same month.[2]


The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2018.[3][4] Universal Pictures acquired distribution rights to the film in May 2018.[5] It was released on February 1, 2019.[6]


Piercing holds an 72% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 88 reviews, and an average rating of 6.29/10. The critical consensus states, "Stylish with a sadistic streak, Piercing pairs gripping lead performances with a smartly macabre story that delivers unpredictable thrills."[7] On Metacritic, the film holds a weighted average score of 63 out of 100, based on 23 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[8]


  1. ^ "Piercing (2018)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 21, 2019.
  2. ^ McNary, Dave (February 7, 2017). "Mia Wasikowska, Christopher Abbott Starring in Thriller 'Piercing' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  3. ^ "2018 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL: FEATURE FILMS ANNOUNCED". Sundance Film Festival. The Sundance Institute. November 29, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  4. ^ "Sundance Program Schedule" (PDF). Sundance Film Festival. The Sundance Institute. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  5. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (May 31, 2018). "Nicolas Pesce's Sundance Title 'Piercing' Picked Up By UPHE Content Group". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  6. ^ Sharf, Zack (November 19, 2018). "'Piercing' Exclusive Trailer: Mia Wasikowska Won't Be Killed Without a Bloody Fight". IndieWire. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  7. ^ "Piercing". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  8. ^ "Piercing Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved February 22, 2019.

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