RESOLUTION Movie Review
Resolution, though billed as a horror film, didn’t quite feel like a horror film to me. It definitely had elements of horror, but also thriller, drama and a strong brotherly bond theme. The film is the brainchild of writer and co-director Justin Benson, who found the inspiration and drive to pursue making this film after working with director, Aaron Moorhead and main cast, Vinny Curran and Peter Cilella on a beer commercial. Benson found the men had great chemistry and they encouraged him to make the film that had been in his head for years. With this team behind him, Benson embarked on making Resolution, and in my estimation it was a success.
The film begins with Michael (Peter Cilella) saying goodbye to his wife as he sets out to find his best friend Chris (Vinny Curran) and take him to rehab for a drug addiction that has ruined Chris’ life and is about to end their friendship. When Michael arrives to find Chris strung out in a bare house in the middle of nowhere with little but a mattress to his name, he gives his friend an ultimatum. Either come with me to rehab now or things are going to get drastic. When Chris lets his friend down yet again by refusing to go, Michael handcuffs him to a pipe and the drug addled man that he will keep him like that for a week, taking care of him, feeding him and being there for him and if at the end of that time he still doesn’t think he can make it without the drugs, Michael will let him go and leave him to his own devices. Enter Micah and Billy, two backwoods dealers that want their money or their drugs from Chris, and a few pissed off Native Americans who don’t appreciate Chris squatting on their land, and things get a little complicated. As the men reflect on the cause of and deterioration of Chris’ drug problem, creepy characters begin coming in and out of their experience, including Byron (Bill Oberst Jr.), who tells Michael about a supernatural research project that went wrong and the disappearance of the students involved.
What stands out most in this film is not the horror element, which seems to be almost a secondary character in the film, but the relationship between Michael and Chris. The two men’s discourse throughout the film and the situations they are put in together really present this film as an allegory on the strength of friendship and the dark grip of addiction. Despite the frightening occurrences, Michael is determined to see his plan through and help his friend, while Chris explains everything away, denying anything out of the ordinary is happening until it is too late to avoid what has been creeping up on the two men. It is dark, no doubt, and there are some intensely odd moments for sure that get your mind working, but they all blend so wonderfully into the movie that at the end of this film I still wasn’t sure that I had actually been watching a horror film, and that is in now way a negative comment.
I thought the performances in Resolution were fantastic and the chemistry that Benson saw with his crew is evident in every element of the film. The only issue I have is that at times the horror story portion of the film seems pieced together and never was quite clear. But, as I’ve said, the horror story really took a back seat for me to Michael and Chris’ story and despite the lack of focus in that arc, it seemed to fit well with the idea of chaos that goes hand in had with drug addiction and anyone who is pulled into that world.
Resolution is a true festival gem and made me rethink what I really consider horror to be. It is not a usual occurrence that such a substantial story can be told in the horror genre and succeed, but Benson and his crew have certainly achieved this with their film. The blend of horror, comedy, thriller, drama and heart is perfectly balanced and expertly portrayed. The atmosphere created by the cast and directors kept me fully engaged in the film, waiting for something scary to happen around each corner, though the chills evoked by Resolution do not come from overt, in your face tactics, but by the underlying creepiness that is represented throughout.
Resolution was an official selection at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival, Fantasia International Film Festival, Tortonto After Dark Film Festival and Screamfest Horror Film Festival. It is available on VOD January 23, 2013 and select theatrical release January 25, 2013 in Los Angeles at Arena Theater.