Rebecca Hall’s previous film release, The Night House, earned mass critical acclaim even though it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. Her first project as writer/director, cloying drama Passing, also released last year, and now, Hall brings her talents to 2022’s Resurrection. In a strange way, Resurrection would make for a perfect double-billing with the thematically similar but significantly more confounding horror/thriller, Men. The film presents an easy metaphor to stand in for its horrors, while blending existential dread and emotional trauma for Hall to chew up the scenery.
Margaret (Hall) is a successful therapist who seems to mostly have her life together. Every morning, she goes for a jog. She has constant casual sex with married man Peter (Michael Esper, Ben is Back, short-lived but excellent ABC drama The Family). Her daughter, Abbie (Grace Kaufman, The Sky is Everywhere), is on the cusp of being 18, a legal adult. There is one major problem, though: Margaret has a horrifying event from her past that appears to haunt her around every corner. Paramount to her issues is the continuous reappearance of her ex, David (Tim Roth, Funny Games, 2001’s Planet of the Apes), who pretends to not even know who she is initially when she confronts him in the throes of stalking.
David begins showing up everywhere from the local park to any number of public places, including a church. Is Margaret simply hallucinating David, or is he actually physically there tormenting her? “Come after me, come after my child, I swear to God I will kill you!” Hall shouts in a fiery rage. The “unforgivable event” that occurred when Margaret was younger seems of little significance when it comes to the horror angle of the script. Too often, Resurrection cannot decide whether it is a straight-up horror movie or a dark drama. Margaret begins to spiral, missing work for over a week as Abbie and Peter try to help.
Gory visuals are few and far between, which is kind of a shame given the lengths they could have gone to in this department. A storyline that doesn’t appear to be anything new beyond simple stalking ends up having a preposterous hook that almost made me roll my eyes. The end result, too, is frustrating, though occasionally riddled with enticing imagery that hints at greater potential. Given the indomitable talents of Rebecca Hall, I expected Resurrection to deliver the goods; instead, the film is mildly amusing at best, featuring a whimper of a finale and a head-scratching resolution.
Resurrection carries to term a new brand of terror for audiences everywhere in theaters on Friday, July 29th, then On Demand and Digital on Friday, August 5th.
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