Fantasia 2012 – Resolution Review (Matt Hodgson)

Fantasia Film Festival 2012

Resolution (2012)

Starring Peter Cilella, Vinny Curran, Kurt David Anderson, Emily Montague, and Skyler Meacham

Directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Scott Moorhead

While I have been having an amazing time at my first-ever Fantasia Film Festival, that dark corner of my heart has yet to have its fill. Horror has always been my central interest in cinema, but I haven’t had a chance to sit down with anything truly scary yet. Perhaps the festival directors are saving the horror movies for later or perhaps this is just not a good year for horror movies. That said, I was greatly anticipating Resolution, a movie that looked scary as hell and has been greatly hyped by a number of people I had spoken to.

Michael (Cilella) and Chris (Curran) were the best of friends. However, for the past few years it seems like the two have split and gone in completely different directions. Michael has a home and a family, while Chris spends most of his time in a drug-induced stupor. One day Michael receives a compilation video, depicting Chris in an open field, using hard drugs, firing his gun, and demonstrating some of the harshest verbal abuse towards squirrels and birds in cinematic history. Since a map was also sent along with the video, Michael decides to give his old friend one more opportunity to go to rehab and salvage what’s left of his life. Michael finds Chris in a dilapidated house in the woods, furnished with little more than a bare mattress. Chris is just as resistant to rehab as he’s ever been, resulting in Michael implementing ‘plan B’. Michael handcuffs his friend to a pipe, telling Chris that he’s going cold-turkey whether he likes it or not. Unfortunately for the friends, Michael wasn’t aware of the dangerous drug-dealing characters who in the habit of stopping by to see Chris. Also, the appearance of strange pictures and stories seems to indicate that there may be another presence with them in the house, perhaps something supernatural, or is it just the drug-dealers trying to give them a good scare?

Resolution is interesting from the moment it kicks off for two main reasons. Firstly, the dynamic between Cilella and Curran is incredible and really makes the film possible. It really seems like these guys were the best of friends and had the monster of addiction thrust in between them. It’s possible that the familiarity and friendship on display from the two leads could have been brought about by the extensive rehearsals which Benson and Moorhead scheduled for three months leading up to the shooting of the film. Regardless of how it was achieved, Ciella and Curran carry the film where other actors may have stumbled.

The performances by the rest of the cast are a bit of a mixed bag. Bill Oberst Jr. gives an effectively strange performance which should give anyone the creeps. However, the dangerous characters who call on Chris at the small house often seem for more innocuous than I imagine they were supposed to. I’m not sure if this was at the level of the writing or the performances themselves, but it would have been nice for the audience to feel just as wary of these characters as Michael and Chris surely do.

As for the writing as a whole, it is wonderfully original. Admittedly inspired by the found-footage genre, Benson (who also wrote the script) borrows the palette instead of emulating something like The Blair Witch Project and paints a fresh story of his own. The screenplay is not filled with twists, like so many movies these days, but still manages to not give away the direction of the story. Also, there is no need to worry about dealing with a shaky camera for 90 minutes.

I really liked Resolution, but I didn’t love it. With a little more menace from the supporting cast and a bit more dread from the central story it would have rocketed to the top of my ‘best of the year’ list. However, listening to the incredibly positive response of others after the screening, I think I am certainly in the minority.

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