The year is 1980. Sixteen year old Angela (Emma Watson) claims that her father had sexually assaulted her. Detective investigator Bruce Kenner (Ethan Hawke), uses a type of hypnosis called regression to bring back the disturbing memories. Thus uncovered a terrible truth: there is a satanic cult thriving on the back step of their sleep away town. Dwelling deeper into the macabre and with the town (and America itself) drowning in hysteria, will Bruce be able to protect the teenage victim from whatever terror is hunting her?
Alejandro Amenabare is a master of psychological horror, but in REGRESSION he puts too much emphasis on political underlay. There are genuinely scary scenes in the film, but they hardly relate to what might be at stake and the final twist, unfortunately, is too easy to guess.
The films takes long to get going, but once it establishes the intrigue it is rather enjoyable for a half an hour or so, before spiralling down to its twisted but all to obvious ending.
REGRESSION asks curious questions, and it is interesting to compare the power of the media the way it used to be and what it is now. The villains had changed, but aren’t we the victims of the same paranoia created by the newsmakers?
REGRESSION has a good cast, but while Ethan Hawke is stuck with an absolutely cardboard cop character, I can see why Emma Watson decided to take on her role. Without giving too much away, she proves she can create an enigmatic character with charisma and fragility, but remain believable when the most outrageous twist is thrown at her.
REGRESSION is a wellmade film. It has a great atmosphere, some good acting, and even raises some intriguing questions, but the lengthy running time of nearly two hours inevitably brings it down. With the final twist delivered awkwardly, it is an anticlimax and a false move for such a masterful director as Amenable.