Critics 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.



Total Count: 40


Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,829
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Movie Info

Minnesota, 1990. Detective Bruce Kenner (Ethan Hawke) investigates the case of young Angela (Emma Watson), who accuses her father, John Gray (David Dencik), of an unspeakable crime. When John unexpectedly and without recollection admits guilt, renowned psychologist Dr. Raines (David Thewlis) is brought in to help him relive his memories and what they discover unmasks a horrifying nationwide mystery. (C) TWC-Dimension


Ethan Hawke
as Bruce Kenner
Emma Watson
as Angela Gray
David Thewlis
as Professor Kenneth Raines
Aaron Ashmore
as George Nesbitt
Devon Bostick
as Roy Gray
Dale Dickey
as Rose Gray
Aaron Abrams
as Farrell
David Dencik
as John Gray
Lothaire Bluteau
as Reverend Murray
Peter MacNeill
as Cleveland
Janet Porter
as S. Cooper
Jacob Neayem
as Charlie
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Critic Reviews for Regression

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (6) | Rotten (34)

Audience Reviews for Regression

  • Jul 03, 2016
    This is, perhaps, less interesting than any movie dealing with the subject of satanic cults and satanic rituals should be. I've always found movies like this to be incredibly fascinating and not even for the reason you might think. I don't know, but I see movies like this or cases like the West Memphis 3 and the paranoia/hysteria it takes for an entire community to come down on a group of people just because someone else told them that they belonged to a satanic cult without any legitimate evidence. And this is in reference to the West Memphis 3, these teens were convicted of a crime they did not commit, nor did the state have any evidence to justify its claims, and remained arrested for close to, if not, 20 years. I'm not saying this film deals with that, because it's been covered ad nauseam in various documentaries and books. But I just wished the film dealt more with what drives someone to believe these things without any actual proof of them actually happening. Because the film does deal with that type of paranoia, but it doesn't really go in as much detail as it probably should. The problem with the film is the fact that it's not exactly sure what it wants to be. As Bruce keeps investigating these accusations of sexual abuse and satanic rituals, his mind is opened more to the possibilities that these things are actually real. Despite the fact that, again, there's nothing to suggest that these accusations are based on something that actually happened. It's all about the power of paranoia and suggestion, because a lot of the 'memories' these cops are using as evidence of any actual crime taking place have been constructed as a result of the suggestions the cops made. It's been proven that memories can be easily manipulated. There have been studies performed where people, as a result of suggestion, admit to things that they simply have not done. But the film doesn't play with that in a clever way, Bruce starts to hallucinate about the satanic sect coming to his house at night to perform rituals on him and force him to take part in their sacrifices. It's to the point where you're not sure whether it really happened or if it's a creation of Bruce's own memory, taking everything around him and everything he sees and hears and his mind just filling in the blanks. After a bit of that, the film goes back to the fact that it was all collective hysteria and none of it actually happened. It's not that I didn't mind that they went back to something that's real to solve the crime, but it comes across more like the film wanted the best of both worlds. They didn't want to commit to it being a legit satanic cult nor did they want to fully commit to it being something imagined as a result of suggestion. And, really, you can't have it both ways. I mean, you can and this film clearly attempted, but it's like have some balls and take a risk and commit to one. Because the way it was done here felt really unsatisfying. It just didn't work. The acting is solid. Ethan Hawke, Emma Watson and Daniel Thewlis are all good. So no complaints there. I do have some complaints regarding the casting though. So Emma Watson's character accuses her family of being members of a satanic cult. There's the grandmother, her father and her brother in the family and, goddamnit if they did not feel like a family at all. Google Emma Watson, Dale Dickey, Devon Bostick and David Dencik and tell me if they look like they could be an actual family in the real world. This might not be such a big deal, but the entire story is predicated on Angela, Emma Watson's character, hating her family so much that she'd come up with these lies. It'd be a little more believable if they looked like an actual family instead of just random actors being cast together to play a family. Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson looked more like family and, before watching this, I even thought that they were. It is what it is. That was a major flaw, to me. That and the fact that, honestly, the flick is a little on the dull side. The acting is solid and everything and Alejandro Amenabar clearly has an eye for visuals. It's just a shame that the story is a major letdown. This isn't terrible or anything, it's just below average. I can't really recommend it, even if it is available on Amazon Prime.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • May 30, 2016
    Interesting idea, but doesn't really play out too well.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Mar 20, 2016
    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.
    Tarin P Super Reviewer
  • Feb 03, 2016
    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. read the whole review at
    Philip P Super Reviewer

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