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ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Regression (2016)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Alejandro Amenabar

Starring:
Ethan Hawke/Bruce
Emma Watson/Angela
David Thewlis/Kenneth
Aaron Ashmore/george
6 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Detective Bruce Kenner (Ethan Hawke) investigates a sexual abuse case having to do with 17 years old Angela (Emma Watson), which seems to be linked to a Satanic Cult. The deeper he gets into his quest, the more odd things happen to him.
THE LOWDOWN

Alejandro Amenabar gave us a genre classic in 2001 with THE OTHERS which starred NICOLE KIDMAN and based on that film alone I was back-handed to find out that REGRESSION existed and was written/directed and produced by the same dude. Amenabar goes back to horror and I don’t know about it?! The and f*ck? Whoever is behind the marketing of this film shame on ya! I found out about this one by accident. NOTE: When I saw The Weinstein Company logo pop up, that explained everything as that company has a tendency to mistreat, chop up or/and dump films.

In fact, REGRESSION first had an August 28, 2015 domestic release locked, then got pushed to February 5, 2016 (limited) and now on disk on May 10 (GET IT HERE). Nough said! But enough with that – how was the movie? Did it deserve the bitch treatment it got? Nope but...yeah... read on! Inspired by the Satanic scare that possessed the 90’s (the devil was everywhere then – movies, heavy metal, video games... my parents would bust balls every time I listened to Maiden), REGRESSION took on powerful themes/issues (satanic cult, regressive hypnotherapy, paranoia, mass hysteria), unraveled as a gripping procedural /investigative type of spiel while laying the tension and disturbing imagery on thick. I personally had no idea where the story was going and I was loving playing the “guessing game” as to what was TRULY going on.

Moreover, this was one hell of a creepy movie! There were some scenes here that gave me major cases of the willies. Amenabar sure knows how to put forth striking imagery and build-up dread until it crawls under your skin to set up shop. Kudos! Performance wise, you could not ask for a better cast at gunpoint. David Thewlis and a nearly unrecognizable Aaron Ashmore gave sturdy showcases, Emma Watson put out a vulnerable yet off kilter display (and yes she showed her bumper in a steamy sex scene) but at the end of the day this was Ethan Hawke’s show through in through. Watching him gradually delve deeper into a world of darkness and obsession was fascinating to say the least. Think his performance in SINISTER and you’ll get a good idea of what you’re in for here from the lad. Tag to all that an easy pace, brilliant sound designs and an effective/ominous score by Roque Baños and you get a taunt nail biter. So what was the problem then?

Easy. REGRESSION totally dropped the ball with its last act when it put all of its cards on the table in a half–assed way. Now I won’t bullshit you, I was in fact disappointed by the “reveal” itself, on that, I understood the game the film tried to play and I could have gone with it IF they would have handled the twist in a meatier, smarter and less throwaway fashion. As-is, the way it was dropped opened up doors to plot holes when looking back and also came off like the film didn't give a shit about its audience. It was a big F-You in my book. So all in all, although I esteemed so much that was accomplished here, the more I thought about REGRESSION afterwards, the more forgettable it became. And it’s too bad, because that first hour was superior genre film-making, I was certain I was in for another classic! But that last act pissed all over that.

GORE
Horrific scenarios were implied (like the sacrifice of a baby) but never shown,.
T & A
We’re treated to Emma Watson’s sweet ass and a bit of side boob.
BOTTOM LINE
REGRESSION almost had it all! A visceral initial premise, suspense, fear scenarios that worked, an engrossing mystery and a cast that came through gangbusters! Alas, its last act blessed us with an underwhelming reveal, one that I could have gone along with if the execution wasn’t so lazy and throwaway. I still recommend you give it at least ONE watch, being that there’s a lot to love here and hopefully ya'll will digest the finale better than I did. Arrow out!
BULL'S EYE
Amenabar also directed the horror films Thesis in 1996 and Open Your Eyes (1997) which was remade with Tom Cruise as Vanilla Sky (2001).

Some of the film was shot in Mississauga, Ontario.
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