Alejandro Amenábar has, after a 19-year long career as both writer and director, achieved a status many in the business can only dream of: his name is synonymous with success, bringing crowds to the theatres, no matter the subject of his movies. This has been, in great part, thanks to Amenábar’s ability to touch upon all topics – from psychological thrillers to paranormal ones, whilst not forgetting about the more mundane human dramas – in his own unique way; always bringing an authenticity to it all – from character portrayals to ambience, photography, plot development, etc. That is why I decided that, after too long a time without watching a movie that could make me crap my pants, Regression – billed as the director’s comeback to the more psychological, more mind-twisting thrillers; the genre which he does best – was the perfect choice. Man, was I wrong. First of all, if you are not from the US, and therefore don’t know very specific details about the supposed events that happened there in the 80s and 90s regarding occult sects performing satanic rituals all over the country, when the movie starts summarizing all of the above and with the promise that it is “based on a true story,” you get the feeling that your hunch was right, and this is going to be a good one. As the story progresses, however, you find yourself watching an entirely different movie than you were promised. Regression is a mix of many topics that it makes it hard to understand what story the director was aiming to tell: suspected parental abuse, a sadly unexploited feud between “science” – the regression therapies which, despite lending the name to the movie, only appear twice during the whole thing – and religion, some mind tricks, and a very poorly developed massive fear phenomena. With just one or two nice sequences seen from the eyes of the protagonist, cop Bruce Kenner (Ethan Hawke), who is really the only character that gets a nice bit of development – although even that becomes somewhat repetitive throughout the movie – the rest of the massive fear lies in the subtext, as it is not shown or even hinted at, and specially not felt by the spectator. And of course we have the satanic sects theme, which becomes more vivid as the movie progresses, along with the police investigation, coming with the topical red herrings. The exploration of this theme is what risks angering the viewer the most, as all the high points it reaches through the movie don’t find the proper follow up, or the exciting climax that one is waiting for. Certainly, Regression feels like a missed opportunity at something greater, more original, less dense, more obscure…at the chance to go beyond. And if one knows what its director is capable of, one wonders what really happened; how could he produce something that doesn’t leave any trace on the viewer after the credits start to roll. The best parts of the movie are when it plays to Amenábar’s strengths, and thanks to Angela Gray (Emma Watson) retelling how she was abducted into the sect’s satanic rituals, we see a pretty shaken up Bruce, almost reliving the entire experience as he goes through the Grey’s barn, as if he had been there those nights. While nothing is really happening to him, the cop is so influenced by the details of Angela’s story and the start of his own personal paranoia, that he seems to mix reality with the fiction created by his imaginations. And this is part of the message that the movie sends us; how reality can be twisted by the mind, to perceive things that aren’t there. However interesting – or not – this reflection might seem, to only tell that through a very convoluted route that includes so many unexploited themes, is to play with the viewers, and waste time and resources on a movie that will be remembered as Amenábar’s greatest could have been. Regression (2015)Sam's Rating2.0Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.