Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Emma Watson, David Thewlis
Release Date: Available on Blu-Ray & DVD May 10, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
Minnesota, 1990. Detective Bruce Kenner (Ethan Hawke) investigates the case of young Angela (Emma Watson), who accuses her father, John Gray (David Dencik), of an unspeakable crime. When John unexpectedly and without recollection admits guilt, renowned psychologist Dr. Raines (David Thewlis) is brought in to help him relive his memories and what they discover unmasks a horrifying nationwide mystery.
‘Regression’ tells the story of a troubling investigation in 1990 occurring within Minnesota and seen primarily from the viewpoint of police detective Bruce Kenner (Hawke) who becomes far too involved in the case of a young woman named Angela Gray (Watson) who after reporting a case of abuse by her father begins to set in motion the revelation of a much larger and more terrifying evil truly at play. Assisted by Kenneth Raines (Thewlis), an expert in the art of regression therapy, the two begin to unravel clues that lead to a large and coordinated organization of Satanists whose sadistic actions seem to have erased the memories of those who happened to bear witness to them. As more facts and persons involved come to light, Bruce begins to find himself a potential victim of the group and now he will have to struggle to maintain his own sanity and safety long enough to uncover the truth and help Angela before it’s too late.
Written and directed by Alejandro Amenábar (The Others, The Sea Inside) who does an excellent job at the helm of ‘Regression’ guiding his own unsettling script and maintaining the disquieting aura that continually looms in the atmosphere of even the most inactive scenes. The film also benefits from a collection of talented and recognizable individuals comprising the cast including Ethan Hawke (Sinister, The Purge), Emma Watson (Harry Potter 1-8, Noah), David Thewlis (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Island of Dr. Moreau 1996), Aaron Ashmore (TV’s Smallville, Killjoys), Lothaire Bluteau (TV’s Vikings), Devon Bostick (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, TV’s The 100), and Dale Dickey (TV’s True Blood, Vice Principals) among others, all of whom for the most part deliver highly capable performances in each of their respective roles.
‘Regression’ is a calm, atmospheric thriller that slowly builds its way through the pieces of a looming mystery with increasing tension and a looming aura of bleakness constantly present throughout. The film also does a fantastic job of recapturing the early 90’s and always keeping the technology and other representations of the time fairly accurate. ‘Regression’ is not necessarily an overly violent or graphic movie, often quickly jumping the angle or scene before something terrifying or gratuitous can occur, yet the unexpected jumps and the lack of gratuitous bloodshed only help to make the whole ordeal that much more unsettling, while also putting you into the mindset of the characters within the film and allowing you to imagine how they might have experienced many of these situations. While some revelations and minor details may detract from the overall impressive and frightening experience this film can be, it’s still a wonderfully tense and ominous film that genre fans in particular probably won’t want to miss out on.
Overall, ‘Regression’ is a well constructed and unsettling thriller that will pull you in and keep you hooked on its terrifying mystery and revelations as the tension continues to build and the terror increases right along with it. Guided by the capable hands of Alejandro Amenábar who wrote and directed the film, and complimented by a talented cast including Ethan Hawke, Emma Watson, David Thewlis and more, ‘Regression’ is a solid bleak thriller that genre fans and those who appreciate a well done slow burn thriller will likely want to check out at some point.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Regression’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks outstanding as a whole, delivering a consistently sharp and detailed presentation with no notable faults to be found within. It holds up beautifully even during the numerous darkly lit and occasional fast moving sequences, never resulting in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation that should easily please.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack provides a clean, crisp and eerily aggressive audio presentation from start to finish, constantly utilizing all five available channels in order to fully immerse the viewer within the unsettling aura of the story with the perfectly toned score and other creepy ambience exploding from the various speakers throughout, while never causing any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a magnificent 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that perfectly complements the film and shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Regression’ includes a few short Behind the Scenes Featurettes that include interviews/comments with members of the cast and crew, although there is some duplicate content between them; the included Featurettes are: ‘Ethan Hawke: Bruce’s Obsession’ (running approximately 2 minutes in length), ‘Emma Watson: The Complexity of Angela’ (approximately 2 minutes), ‘The Cast of Regression’ (2 minutes), and ‘The Vision of Regression’ (3 minutes).