After the Spaniard Alejandro Amenábar began his career as a horror film director, he broke away from genre cinema for a few years in order to now be involved REGRESSION to return to that one. The psychological thriller tells the story of a girl who was abused by her father. But the more the ambitious Detective Kenner deals with this crime, the stronger his doubts about this crime become. He investigates and discovers an occult sect. How successful is this thriller, which stars Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson? I’ll reveal that in my review of the film.
The plot summary
A small town in Minnesota in 1990: Detective Bruce Kenner (Ethan Hawke) investigates the case of young Angela Gray (Emma Watson), who accuses her father John (David Dencik) of sexual abuse. When he unexpectedly pleads guilty without even remembering the crime, the renowned psychologist Kenneth Raines (David Thewlis) is called in to bring out John’s repressed memories with the help of regression therapy. A secret of unimaginable proportions gradually becomes apparent. Angela seems to have become the victim not only of her own father, but also of a satanic cult. Kenner’s investigations in this direction soon drive the police officer crazy. He is haunted by delusions and nightmares. Who is playing a bad game here?
The strongly acted and effectively staged psychological thriller “Regression” may go even deeper thematically, but works excellently as a dark insight into a world that will hopefully remain hidden from us all forever. Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson complement each other excellently in their very different acting styles and Alejandro Amenábar proves once again what an unpredictable filmmaker he is. “Regression” is the best alternative to the Blumhouse staples currently playing in home theaters and is just as captivating as it is oppressive.
Regression Movie Meaning & ending
The Spaniard Alejandro Amenábar became known to the general public in 2001 through the mystery thriller “The Others”. In the wake of M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Sixth Sense,” the melancholic twistride starring Nicole Kidman established itself as one of the most surprising film events of the early 2000s. Then there was silence about him in mainstream cinema. However, the director of “The Sea in Me” and “Agora – The Pillars of Heaven” remained a welcome guest at film festivals. With the cult thriller “Regression,” Amenábar not only returns to his genre roots, but is clearly aimed at the general public again. The director has an easy time of it because of the subject matter: cults and occult connections automatically trigger discomfort and fear in most people. In this respect, Amenábar would only have to rely on his subject matter and could sit back and relax when staging it. But exactly the opposite is the case. With the exception of a few nasty nightmare sequences, the filmmaker consistently avoids jump scares and otherwise only uses the repertoire of a conventional horror film with caution. But in keeping with his earlier work, Amenábar plays the quiet tones of the horror film keyboard excellently and ensures consistent tension with spectacular twists and a profound message.
Alejandro Amenábar derived the film title “Regression” from regression therapy, which was originally widespread in the USA. This controversial and scientifically unproven variant of hypnosis describes the slow return to one’s own, sometimes prenatal, life in order to retrieve hidden memories or memories that have been buried by the subconscious and thus resolve experiences that have not been mastered. At the beginning of the 1990s, regression therapy was a popular treatment method used by psychotherapists for their patients. However, “Regression” deals with the side effects of this controversial procedure in passing, because despite the repeated emphasis at the beginning and at the end of the film, Since the thriller is based on a true story, Amenábar is clearly more interested in using the fascination for this method of treatment as the basis for a suspense piece than in seriously dealing with the deeper meaning behind it. However, that is perfectly fine. The filmmaker deliberately avoids any shocker hodgepodge. Instead, he tells the story carefully and intensively. The director, who also wrote the screenplay for the film, consciously slows down the directorial tempo in “Regression”. Role models like “Sieben” or his own horror hit “The Others” clearly leave their mark here. This is primarily at the expense of those spectators who were hoping for a bloody, haunted interlude. For those viewers who place particular value on a story, “Regression” proves to be an extremely worthwhile alternative to the current conventional screen horror.
The cast for his thriller, which dispenses with camera movements typical of horror films and gimmicks with cats suddenly jumping out, mirror faces appearing or swelling background music, turns out to be ideal. The main role is played by Ethan Hawke, who, after his appearance in the first part of “Sinister”, proves himself here again on the genre stage. His well-known but not very popular persona works excellently in smaller film projects of the “Regression” brand. In addition, his angular attitude proves to be ideal for such an ambivalent character as Detective Bruce Kenner. Kenner is a self-sacrificing detective with self-neglecting traits. Hawke perfectly combines his inner conflict between rationality and openness to possible supernatural events, even though his opponent Emma Watson does (“The Bling Ring”) proves to be even more sophisticated. In “Regression,” the former “Harry Potter” star is surrounded by an aura of aloofness, which Hawke’s character is able to partially penetrate, but around which secrets are constantly growing. The interaction between the two actors is believably characterized by mistrust, but also by attraction. Only David Dencik can counter this engaging game at the supporting actor level (“Serena”) as Angela’s desperate father, who proves to be one of the greatest assets in “Regression” in his short scene appearances.
In addition to the story, which does not rely solely on the effect of possible twists, but concentrates on its existence as a large, complete mystery, another advantage is the paralyzing, oppressive style of “Regression”. Cinematographer Daniel Aranyó (“7 days in Havana”) dresses the mystery thriller in an ominous robe of darkness, shadows and weak contrasts. Much of the action takes place in the late evening hours. The precise choice of setting is another plus point: there are only a handful of locations that, despite their calm existence, do not lose any of their effectiveness. With the help of simple means, an old barn, Detective Kenner’s fireplace room or Angela’s father’s prison cell become scenes of pure fear. And the jump scares? There are exactly two of them that Alejandro Amenábar deliberately stages in an exaggerated manner or incorporates them into Kenner’s surrealistly staged nightmares. The score by Roque Baños, on the other hand, hangs throughout “Regression” like a threateningly vibrating sword of Damocles and always fulfills its tension-increasing purpose when Amenábar relies on the effectiveness of his technical staging and lets the overall dialogue-heavy film pause for a while.
Conclusion: The strongly acted and effectively staged psychological thriller “Regression” may go even deeper thematically, but works excellently as a dark insight into a world that will hopefully remain hidden from us all forever. Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson complement each other excellently in their very different acting styles and Alejandro Amenábar proves once again what an unpredictable filmmaker he is. “Regression” is the best alternative to the Blumhouse staple currently in theaters and is as captivating as it is oppressive.
“Regression” can be seen in USA cinemas from October 1st.