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Resolution (2012) Movie Review

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Written by Justin Benson

Directed by Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead

Starring: Peter Cilella, Vinny Curran and Zahn McClarnon

In an abandoned cabin on the edge of an Indian reservation, Mike (Peter Cilella) stages a risky intervention to force his friend Chris (Vinny Curran) off meth and into rehab. But what begins as an attempt to save his friend’s life takes an unexpected turn when ominous threats start appearing around the house – and they realize that Chris’s addictions are the least of their worries. Resolution is genre-bending horror at its most bone-chilling.

Resolution is a great addition to the newest wave of indie stealth-horror films. I say “stealth-horror” because often times you aren’t aware it’s horror until it’s too late. I’m sure every horror blogger in the world is including mention of Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods, but I promise this indie film is a different animal. Mike, the caring friend, has grown tired of seeing his buddy destroy his life with meth. In a last-ditch effort, Mike decides to intervene…one way or another.. I should mention Chris has chosen a seemingly abandoned shack on an Indian reservation for his meth party HQ. When Mike arrives, Chris is outside shooting at “the birds” that keep giving him trouble. Between the gunshots and sizzling meth hits, Mike is apprehensive. Chris warmly welcomes him and it looks like all is well. When rationale doesn’t work, the taser comes out and Mike handcuffs the tweaker to the cabin. Left with a mattress and a sore wrist, Chris begins to bargain for his freedom…and his meth.

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What follows is realistic and endearing conversation between two old friends. Methed-out or not, Chris is a very likeable and funny guy. I was glad the two men shared a kinship deep enough to attempt the shared task of detox. You can’t help but root for him. Sooner or later, you know the cabin, the location, and the seedy locals are going to start playing a bigger role – and they do. Indian lore has its own mysterious and ancient history for creating evil spirits and manifestations. I’m not saying you’re going to see one, just that they exist. Mix in some Mormon-like UFO worshipers, pissed off meth users, and a very strange Frenchman for a great backdrop. I have to applaud the location. It looked like so many creepy farmlands I visited in my native Kentucky and Illinois. I should mention we never smoked any weird, red-colored weed.

Tension is beginning to build via the locals, the strange photos Mike finds under the house, and the distinct feeling that the duo are not only being watched, but simultaneously warned and manipulated. Is there a dark presence in the woods or is it Mike’s paranoia? Chris isn’t in his right mind, but feels no fear from the potentially ominous clues that continue to mount. The longer they stay, the more human Chris becomes. Cold turkey detox was the perfect condition to build this film upon. The realistic nature of detox and its inherent hallucinatory demons might be able to explain a lot – except that Mike is the one noticing all the voyeuristic gloom.

Creepy sounds, mysterious buildings, and Native American warnings slowly (very slowly) bring the old friends out of the cabin and into the night. It’s here that the film cranks up the trauma. Something you rarely see in horror, is perceived phenomena as a chance for the protagonists and audience to draw closer to enlightenment of some kind. It’s subtle and you have to look for it, or maybe just being patient is more accurate, but the film toys with our need to have everything explained. It’s often times worse to let our own twisted imaginations draw a conclusion. The creative camera work and atmospheric setting made me wonder if a supernatural intelligence was casting a shadow over the entire area. Lovers of the genre will appreciated the do-it-yourself approach that relies more on smart film making than over-the-top bullshit. No bloody heads were lurking behind refrigerator doors, no leg-dragging ghouls shambled after the girlfriend; it’s not obliged to pander to multiplex mentality. I hope 2013 has more of these films, indie or not, and smart horror doesn’t have to stay a thing of the past.

No actual birds, real or imaginary were harmed in the making of Resolution.*

*your results may vary depending on your meth dealer or frequency of use

About Fister Roboto (2239 Articles)
Just ring it up with the dong tea...

5 Comments on Resolution (2012) Movie Review

  1. Now THAT looks creepy. And coming from an area where meth is entirely too popular, I’m intrigued by them throwing the going cold turkey and coming clean off it in there.

  2. You are a badass writer. Thank you so much for a thoughtful look and taking the time to write about it!

  3. That one is getting bumped to the top of my list. Looks like a rare gem: a great premise that doesn’t go to waste. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!

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