Critic Consensus: Regression boasts a pair of eminently likable leads -- neither of whom are able to dislodge the movie from the mire of psychological thriller mediocrity.
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Critic Reviews for Regression
Hawke anchors the film as a cop who descends deeper and deeper into the monstrous, violent world he's uncovered.
Tripped up by its subject matter, the movie is ultimately a tepid and frustrating experience.
Well-intended seriousness dismantles "Regression," a not-exactly-horror horror movie that's also a mystery with no mystery.
Deriving inspiration from a certain famed Arthur Miller play and reframing it for the era of rampant, media-invoked Satanic Panic fears, "Regression" provocatively blankets its elegiac mystery in a malignant pall of diabolical foreboding.
Audience Reviews for Regression
It seems like a poor rehash of something that Roman Polanski has done many times better, with an intriguing premise developed into a mediocre thriller that believes to be very smart with a lot of red herrings and twists but is in fact incredibly stupid, especially in the end.
The atmosphere of the film is at times scary and thrilling. The plot twist of the film makes it somewhat more realistic, but the film as a whole felt boring. It couldn't make up its mind whether it was going to be a supernatural or realistic crime film.
I couldn't even tell whether Emma Watson's accent was American or English.
Ethan Hawke seems like the type of actor who does as much work as he can no matter the genre, or the paycheck simply because he loves the idea that he gets to make movies for a living. What's it matter, really? He can justify it all by saying one never knows what will catch on and he'd be right. After all, he made a low budget horror flick in The Purge three years ago that will see its third installment be released this year. Of course, it was also around this time that Hawke began to seem to give into the temptations of making more pure genre flicks outside of what is largely an independent filmography. With Sinister, Getaway, and what feels like a handful of direct to DVD releases Hawke has become the actor we wouldn't be surprised to see turn up in anything. His presence no longer signals whether what we're watching might be a horrible film or a near masterpiece as he's arguably starred in films on either end of that spectrum. With Regression the actor wanders back to the territory of the horror genre with what are nothing but honorable intentions, but unfortunately that willingness to commit to almost anything lets him down here. Written and directed by Alejandro Amenábar, who shared those same duties on both 2001's The Others and 2004's The Sea Inside that garnered him a barrage of rave reviews and what was undoubtedly a large amount of good will and momentum, Regression is inspired by a rise in the suspicion of Satanic cult-related activities in the early nineties and how such acts began making their way into the mainstream as well as what were apparently many a police investigations. Of course, through this guise the narrative feels all the more familiar given the number of horror films we've seen that get their "in" through a tortured official investigating these claims that are always scoffed at initially. While Amenábar certainly has an interesting approach to this type of story it might have aided his film even more had he come at it from a different perspective. As it is, there are both some beautifully haunting and cringingly cheap images on display with a few cool period details, but ultimately we've seen this all before and in much better, more effective fashions.
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