I am doing the 31 Days of Horror Challenge. Every day in October, I will watch a different horror film I have never seen before and write about it here on the blog.
Resolution is the type of film about which it is almost impossible to write without giving away any of the surprises the filmmakers deliver. I will do my best to explain what I enjoyed about the film without venturing into spoiler territory, but in all honesty, I would almost prefer you checked out the film before reading my write up.
Michael (Peter Cilella) receives an email with a disturbing video attached to it of his best friend Chris (Vinny Curran). In the video, Chris is smoking crack and meth and randomly firing guns at targets or into the air. Along with the video is a map to Chris’ location in a rural area a few hours’ drive away. Michael makes the trip to the gutted cabin where Chris is living and tries to convince him to go to rehab. To put it mildly, Chris is less than interested in giving up his lifestyle so Michael takes the drastic step of handcuffing him to an exposed pipe in the wall and settles in for the week he calculates it will take for the drugs to leave Chris’ system. While Michael tries to nurse Chris through withdrawal and convince him to seek help, odd things begin to happen to the two men. These strange occurrences send Michael on a sort of scavenger hunt that slowly reveals a dark secret about the area surrounding the cabin.
I apologize if that description is vague or disjointed, but I really am trying to avoid spoilers.
Writer/co-director Justin Benson and co-director/cinematographer Aaron Moorhead are smart enough to understand what a lot of low-budget indie horror directors fail to get: the audience has to care about the characters before they can care about the scares. To that end, they spend most of the first hour simply observing the interactions between Michael and Chris, letting them slowly fill in bits of their history through conversations. It helps that Cilella and Curran have an easy, believable chemistry. The years of friendship, regrets, and resentments are easily understood, even though most of the actual details are never spoken. By the time the film has moved firmly into horror territory in the third act, the weight and texture of the two lead’s relationship feels incredibly realistic.
I don’t mean for it to sound like the horror elements of the film come out of nowhere. There are plenty of hints of something strange, possibly dangerous lurking around the cabin throughout the film. But the focus wisely remains mostly on the relationship between Michael and Chris.
I can easily see the things that impress me about the film annoying a viewer who is more interested in a traditional horror film full of shocks and gore. Resolution is decidedly not that kind of film. I can understand how its low-key pace and sometimes meandering story might be a turn off for a large section of the viewing audience. But the film worked wonderfully for me. If you’re looking for something different in your Halloween viewing this year, it’s well worth watching.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and read all the extraneous crap that goes through my head by following me on Twitter.