ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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The Return (2006)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Asif Kapadia

Starring:
Sarah Michelle Gellar/Joanna
Peter O'Brien/Terry
Adam Scott/Kurt
PLOT-CRUNCH
Plagued by spooky visions of a murder that went down in her hometown, heart shaped assed sales gal Joanna Mills (Gellar) returns home to figure out what the muck is going on, solve the crime, fall in love and stare at herself in the mirror a lot.
THE LOWDOWN
Meh. That was the first word that leaped out of my yapper when exiting the theatre after a screening of THE RETURN. Thank Athena that I went and saw the awesome Casino Royale afterwards, other wise my day would’ve started out on the wrong stab. Hate when that happens!

A lot of questions popped in my melon as I was sitting through this mess. Questions like: “Was there a full fledge script when they started shooting this flick?”Was the editing process as nightmarish as the film hints at?” “Who gave Sara Michelle Gellar that bad nose job? I liked her old nose better!” Shite like that. I mean I’m a one trick pony in bed no doubt but that flick put me to shame in that department. Here’s what you’ll see in THE RETURN: Sara Michelle looking at her reflection constantly for long periods of time. Some creepy, fashion victim dude appearing left and right. Sara running away. Sarah having trip-out visions. And that was that on that. For a buck and half that’s all this flick was about. Redundant was the word! And f*ck you was my reaction to that word. I actually screamed at the screen once; Yo Sarah, how about you stop running and ask that slimy dude what he wants? I just wanted the story to progress already! You know reach another level!

The execution of the narrative was also pretty lamo. The story lacked focus, the mystery handled in a clunky fashion and suspension of disbelief knocked on my door many o times... I wouldn’t answer. What was that tool a-hole character (played by Adam Scott) all about again? Would a guy really drive for days to another State just for some silly payback? Not really. He was just an obvious plot device to have Gellar meet up with another character named Terry (played by Peter O Brien). Somebody didn't pass "Screenwriting 101"! To make matters worse, her courtship with Terry didn't sell me either. Although the chemistry was there, the way it went down was shoddy at best, even with the supernatural sprinkles spread around it.

Finally, the flick was guilty of the worse sins when it comes to being a genre film: it was boring and suspense-less. When I start staring at my crotch 20 minutes into a film, it’s either cause I’m bored or I’m impressed with the bump in my Khakis. In this case I was bored. Director Asif Kapadia's art film approach to the material didn’t help in the oomph department. Although the flick looked astounding and I did value some of the more “outside the box” directing choices; the aloof approach got in the way of the film's raison d'etre... to be a horror film. Felt like a tug of war was going on here: Artsy (Director) VS. Commercial (Studio). Nobody won.

With that wiped and flushed down the toilet; I will give THE RETURN its dues! Both Sara Michelle Gellar and Peter O Brien gave solid and engaging performances and were the main reason as to why I didn’t walk out halfway through. The cinematography was stellar as well, perfectly capturing the feel of a  Southwest setting. Made me want to slap a Cowboy hat on and ride the mane…whatever the f*ck that means. And thank you for that brutal "fist fight"! It woke me up and had me sitting up for 5 seconds! I needed that! Furthermore, there were good ideas at play; some of which came together beautifully in the finale. The last 10 minutes in particular really moved me and taking into account that I didn’t give a hoot about the happenings up to that point, that was a feat.

All in all THE RETURN was too bland, repetitive, vague and pretentious to work as horror flick or even a strong macabre drama. RETURN TO SENDER!

GORE
We get some minor blood and light stabbings.
ACTING
Hottie Sarah Michelle Gellar (Joanna) was actually pretty good here! I dug her internal emoting and she carried the film admirably. Peter O'Brien (Terry) was a revelation, I so grooved to his intensity, sense of stillness and subdued acting style. Wanna see more of this dude! Adam Scott (Kurt) played a good a-hole but his part was a plot device not a real role.
T & A
Sarah Michelle Gellar in her undies while sporting a tight top is always a treat to my retinas and the creature that dwells within my Jeans.
DIRECTING
Asif Kapadia's showcase was a tad too artsy for my taste-buds but I did dig on his use of long shots, his daring angles and the brilliant cinematography/editing that came with them. Great looking film! Suspense and a decent script matter too though!
SOUNDTRACK
We get a moving and often gloomy score; ideal for this type of genre bon-bon.
BOTTOM LINE
With a more developed/fleshed out script, less artsy fartsy shite and some real scares, THE RETURN could've been a genre film to reckon with. Unfortunately, its frustratingly redundant demeanor, shaky narrative, dead snail pace, half cocked mystery and lack of focus made sure that didn't happen. Props to Gellar and O Brien though for their bang on performances, they rocked hard!
BULL'S EYE
The flick was shot in Austin Texas and was initially called "Revolver" (good move on the title change).

VISIT THE OFFICIAL THE RETURN WEBSITE HERE

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