Tuesday, 23 February 2016


You all know how Rotten Tomatoes works, don’t you? For those who don’t, it’s a website that takes all critical reviews for a film and makes a percentage of how many are actually positive. So for something good, like The Shawshank Redemption, the score is 91%. And for something bad, like Fantastic Four, the score is 9%. Alejandro Amenábar’s latest, Regression, currently stands at a pathetic and laughable 7%. Shocking work for the man who brought us The Others. So, is it deserving of this ridiculously low score? Or is it just misunderstood? 

Regression, which is out now on DVD and Blu-ray, stars Ethan Hawke as detective Bruce Kenner. Obsessed with solving the case of who sexually abused Angela (Emma Watson), he finds himself drawn into a crazy world of satanic cultists and human sacrifice rituals. The title of the film comes from an experimental technique to recover Angela’s repressed memories, which is controversial for creating false memories. Regression asks you who to believe and who to trust…If you can make it through the bloody thing. Regression’s 7% on Rotten Tomatoes is, quite frankly, a compliment. This film is one of the most cliché-packed, predictable and downright unoriginal thrillers in years. 

The thing that makes Regression so difficult to review is that there’s neither nothing hugely in-your-face bad about it, nor anything at all good. Nobody in the cast seems to be making much effort and they all act like they want to be somewhere else, but for a B-movie thriller like this, that is to be expected. The dark, gritty visuals of the film are sufficient for a film of this genre and occasionally lend the film its only saving grace - but it isn’t enough to truly save the film from being so painfully mundane and run-of-the-mill that anyone in the world could’ve directed it. And anyone else could’ve probably done a better job, as Amenábar doesn’t seem to have a clue what film he’s directing here.

Some films hybridise genres effectively but Regression isn’t one of them. Trying to be a thriller, horror and drama isn’t a particularly hard task – especially for a man who won an Academy Award in 2004 – but here, Amenábar doesn’t seem able to be any of those genres. There are no thrills because we’ve seen it all before, no scares because the film mainly focuses on jumps which we see coming a mile off, and certainly no drama because we don’t give a shit about the thinly written characters. As an audience we have absolutely no interest or care for the weak narrative and when the hilariously anti-climactic so-called ‘twist’ is dropped on us at the end, it isn’t a shock. If the film was good, the ‘twist’ would’ve been disappointing. But because of this total lack of audience connection with the characters or plot, we don’t care enough to be disappointed.

This is a slightly shorter review than you’re used to getting from me, but I just have nothing else to say about Regression. It is such an empty, forgettable and unoriginal film that there is nothing to comment on. I’m not angry, and I’m not even disappointed because I went in with no expectation. I’ve just come out of it with nothing to say, and certainly no recommendation. Maybe, just maybe, if you’re an Emma Watson fan you might like seeing her do something different here. And if Ethan Hawke has any fans left, then they might enjoy seeing him play a completely unoriginal detective character. Otherwise…just don’t waste your time.

Regression is a film worth repressing, and never thinking of again. 0/5.


Sam Love

Regression at CeX

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