Screened at the 2012 Fantasia Film Festival

Resolution achieves maybe half of what it sets out to do, but that turns out to be enough. Here’s a heady, truly ambitious indie horror effort: a creepy slow-burn chiller, and a relationship drama, and a wry reflection on the medium for good measure. Amiable graphic designer Michael (Peter Cilella) gets an email from his childhood friend Chris (Vinny Curran), who’s holed up in a cabin in the meth- and poverty-ravaged hills where they grew up, having decided to smoke himself to death. Michael decides to go out to the cabin and forcibly detox Chris by handcuffing him to a pipe. As Michael attempts to shepherd his friend through withdrawal, they’re harassed by local junkies, pissed-off Indians from the reservation next door, and eventually something much, much stranger.

There’s a fundamental implausibility at the heart of the film: whatever is hounding the characters does things that are so deeply creepy that any halfway sane individual would immediately turn tail, run away, and never return. Michael and Chris aren’t permitted to do that, because then there’d be no movie — which may well be the point. Resolution shares some thematic similarities with The Cabin in the Woods, which also imagined that the horror stories we enjoy are actually fashioned for someone else’s benefit. It’s not quite as clever as Drew Goddard’s film, but it takes its set-up more seriously, and delivers some truly unsettling stretches on the way to an abrupt, not-quite-satisfying conclusion. (It’s often quite funny as well, and not in the smug and self-sabotaging way that low-budget horror tends to approach humor — the laughs emerge from the plausible and lived-in relationship between its two protagonists.) This is a seriously promising debut.

Eugene Novikov

Seeking in movies meaning and reflection in real-time. On the look out for biography, thriller & drama best pieces.

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