Movie Review: Regression

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Official Tagline: A detective (Ethan Hawke) and a psychoanalyst (David Thewlis) uncover evidence of a satanic cult while investigating the rape of a traumatized teen (Emma Watson).

Written by: Alejandro Amenábar
Directed by: Alejandro Amenábar

Starring: Ethan Hawke, David Thewlis, Emma Watson

Regression is a satanic horror film that really wants to be thought provoking and scary and comes up short in both departments. Going in, I didn’t know anything about Regression. I hadn’t heard about it or seen any previews; I didn’t even know who was in the cast. This can be a good thing sometimes. You may be pleasantly surprised or in this case; left feeling like you wasted an hour and a half. I’m not saying Regression is terrible, but it wastes some good actors on a story that offers few scares, thrills or logical for that matter.
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Regression is set in the 1980’s amid the nationwide panic of devil worshipers running rampant across the heart land of the nation and based on true events. I don’t remember anything like this happening, maybe I was too young to remember or not hanging out with devil worshipers to know what was happening.
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Ethan Hawke gives his standard trouble man with wounded past performance as police detective Bruce Kenner, who is call upon to look into the molestation of innocent, virginal Angela Gray, played by the pure and chaste Emma Watson, who is actually only in the movie less than ten minutes. We find out that Angela’s father, John Gray [David Dencik] has been sneaking into his daughter’s room at night , but he has no memory of any of this, but says if Angela said it happened then it must of happened, because she never lies and he tells us this several times in the first act.

Okay, movie insights 101, if someone in a movies says that a certain character never, ever does something, then you can expect them to do that very thing later in the movie. If this is said several times early in the film, then you can guarantee that they will do it.
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We later learn that Angela’s father was not the only person molesting Angela, but also Kenner’s right hand man, police officer George Nesbitt [Aaron Ashmore] who raped Angela while her father watched. But the plot thickens, Nesbitt and Gray are not just rapists, but members of a devil worshiping cult and all of the cult members had sex with Angela too, even her grandmother. Of course Angela’s father doesn’t remember any of this, but since Angela never lies Kenner knows there is evil afoot and brings in Professor Kenneth Raines [David Thewlis] to hypnotize Gray and regress his memories so that he can remember being an incest loving, Satan worshiping, rapist and help Kenner with his deep dark secrets too.

The main problem with Regression is that Alejandro Amenábar wrote, directed and produced this movie. It is always a warning sign when the writer and director are the same person on a film, especially in horror films, but throw in producing too and this is a recipe for disaster. May be if he had tried to do just one job on the film, things would have been better.
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The story isn’t compelling or scary. The directing is timid and lackluster. He attempts to tease a sexual relationship between Kenner and Angela but is too timid to pursue that. He has Kenner having erotic dreams that are set up to be about Angela, but are of extremely old naked hags/witches. The big plot twist reveal is telegraphed very early in the story and doesn’t surprise or entertain.

This film opens this week and is already showing in the second run theaters, so if you want to catch it on the big screen you better run out and see it now, it won’t be sticking around long. A weak effort that wastes the abilities of some talented actors and your time and money.

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Screen Writer Ink
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