Regression review

Writer-director Amenabar returns to the chiller fold with this inspired by real events tale. It doesn't have quite the intrigue or scares of The Others though. What it does have is a satisfyingly intense turn from Hawke as a Minnesata cop investigating a  case of alleged sexual abuse. The culprit is a disturbed father (Dencik) with no memory of the crime, the victim his tormented daughter (Watson). Thewlis is the psychiatrist drafted in to conduct the regression therapy, hypnotising them to remember events of the past.

As Hawke becomes more embroiled in the case, the satanic cult that features in the testimonies of the individuals begins to invade his dreams. Will his sanity be questioned? Will he discover the real perpetrator of the nasty goings on in this cold, wintry town peopled with suspicious types? Will you care?

Hard to say to be honest. Some will certainly find the deliberate pacing slowgoing but then again Amenabar does cast a beguiling and very atmospheric spell. The performances are uniformly fine, with Hawke's strong, psychotic turn anchoring the proceedings well, ably supported by Watson as the troubled girl who is the cause of the accusations. She can play vulnerable and strong-willed with aplomb, also sporting a creditable American accent. The plot never grips enough though, and the sudden jolts that occasionally occur never provide the spooky frisson that's intended.  The payoff is no surprise either so ultimately Regression must be classified as a big disappointment from Amenabar. After all, his previous effort Agora, though a different genre, was magnificent. 

Regression at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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