04 October 2015



Spain / Canada, 2015
Director: Alejandro Amenábar


After movies like "Thesis" (1996), "Open Your Eyes" (1997) and especially "The Others" (2001), Chilenian filmmaker Alejandro Amenábar was hailed as THE new hope for the horror genre - but for whatever reason, he decided to go into completely different genre directions afterwards and eventually came up with the drama "The Sea Inside" (2004) and the historical epic "Agora" (2009), both critical successes, but both also far from being as successful as uber-blockbuster "The Others".

Now, he's finally back with a new horror-related film, taking place in a small Minnesota town during the 80s/90s satanic panic, following your average loner policeman whio investigates a strange case that revolves around a young woman who accuses her own father of having her sexually abused, her father who pleads guilty even though he has no memory of comitting the crime, and a mysterious, dangerous satanic sect who is somehow involved in both of their lives.

By avoiding all kinds of common horror clichés / tropes, Amenábar desperately tries to create a horror-thriller that is both old-fashioned and modern, yet fails completely to give us something new, something we haven't seen before, and bores us with an all-too-familiar and immensely foreseeable plot that is not just exactly original, but also looks like a blend of 90s made-for-TV movie and recent Spanish horror films like "Julia's Eyes" or "Sleep Tight", at least in terms of style and execution.

The scenes that are supposed to be scary, like the ones with the, erm, monster cat or the gatherings of hooded satanists, are shot in a way that will make you shake your head because they're so lackluster, so unbelievably un-frightening. Same for a couple of other scenes where Amenábar tries to build some nervewracking tension, but doesn't manage to lure you in because the pacing is mostly too slow, the set-ups are all way too well-known and none of the characters are believable or sympathetic, so in the end, you just don't care about anyone and anything. Both, Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson deliver solid performances, yet fall short of fleshing out the poorly written characters. Worst of all: the final twist, which is not just very easy to guess, but also a bit upsetting because it delivers a highly questionable message.

Aside from the acting, the pretty intense musical score by Roque Baños ("Sexy Beast") and 2-3 decently tense scenes in the first half, there's really nothing interesting about this movie, nothing that makes me recommend this. "Regression" will be a massive career regression for Mr. Amenábar, I'm sure.


  1. I will give this one a miss - though I do one of these days want to see Emma Watson in something non-Harry Potter.

    1. My Week with Marilyn? Perks of Being Wallflower? She already made a couple of non-Potter films...

  2. Jeez, this one was awful!
    I wouldn't have even called it a horror it was so tame.
    I am not an Ethan Hawke fan and I never enjoy watching him but Emma Watson's overly articulated American accent really started to grate on me towards the end.
    Awful and too long which didn't help my mood when I left the screen!
    K :-)

    1. Yes, it was really so fucking lame, I'm still shocked. I mean, this was made by the same director whose "The Others" scared the crap outta me.
      Hawke was often a bit too over-the-top for my taste, and Watson... well, she's a cutie, but I'm not exactly a fan of her.


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