Monday, May 2, 2016

Movie Review: Regression (2016)

Regression (2016) - Written and Directed Alejandro Amenabar; Starring Ethan Hawke, Emma Watson, David Thewlis.

By Kenny Howell

It's amazing how much of a mess Regression is with Alejandro Amenabar at the helm.

His last film, Agora, wasn't exceptional, but it was an interesting piece set in Roman era Egypt. But before that, he made three great films - The Sea Inside, The Others and Open Your Eyes.

Regression is loud, disjointed and at times unintentionally funny. Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson do what they can with the script, but there is only so much you can do.

It is the story of a young woman named Angela Gray (Watson) who says she was sexually abused by her father. Under regression therapy, she unearths previously hidden memories of a satanic cult that carried out the abuse among many other horrible acts, including child sacrifice.

That sets off Detective Bruce Kenner (Hawke), who starts seeing people all around him that could be involved in this cult. He digs deeper and deeper, and of course it starts to drive him a bit crazy because that is what happens in these types of movies.

The movie claims to inspired by true events, but that is a very loose inspiration. None of these characters are real, so it makes the title cards that pretend like it is a little awkward. However, that mess fits the tone of the rest of the film which is so abrasive. Ethan Hawke is such a natural actor, the over the topness of it all is not necessary. Him yelling through a two-way mirror (which I think may not have even been a two-way mirror) "YOU'RE LYING!" to a man being investigated is just so unwarranted. The loud horror-style crashes and bangs throughout don't as well. Add to that a thud of a "reveal" at the end.

If Amenabar had just let everything breathe, he maybe could have achieved the success of his earlier work. But Regression, disappointingly, isn't even close.

Rating: *

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