Resolution (2012)
By: Rip on December 2, 2013 | Comments
Accent | Region B | 2.40:1, 1080p | English DD 5.1 | 89 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Directors: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead
Starring: Peter Cilella, Vinny Curran, Zahn McClarnon, Bill Oberst Jr., Kurt David Anderson
Screenplay: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead
Country: USA
Michael (Peter Cilella) receives what appears to be a home-made video from an old school mate, Chris (Vinny Curran), a fellow whose uncontrollable addiction to crystal meth has all but ended their friendship and completely destroyed every other relationship Chris may have had. The video arrives with a map providing directions to an old cabin in a forest where Chris has been living with only his dog for a companion. Much to the chagrin of his girlfriend, Michael travels to the cabin to find Chris completely drunk and high on meth, and cleverly cuffs his friend to a rail with the intention of staying with him through an enforced week-long stint of cold turkey. As Chris becomes increasingly agitated by withdrawl symptoms, Michael decides it's time-out and goes exploring in to the woods for a series of encounters with potential intruders, which include a pair of on-the-edge drug dealers to whom Chris owes money, a makeshift trio of indigenous security guards who demand rent for the cabin and a warning to get off their land, and various other oddballs. Then, strange videos containing angle-defying footage of Michael and Chris in situations that haven't actually happened begin to appear on the cabin's porch...

In Resolution, writer/directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (in only their second feature) have crafted a great amalgamation of familiar horror traits to ultimately produce a film which manages to stand up on its own despite this. Some reference points are a little obvious (David Lynch's Lost Highway and Michael Haneke's Hidden, to name just a couple), but these same points can also be picked up on in various other great horror movies. It's the end product that matters and this one's a little beauty.

The film's incremental sense of dread is superbly achieved (and helped immensely by the lack of a music score), not least due to the idyllic backdrop and the self-confidence with which Michael, whose adult life has been in marked contrast to that of Chris, explores its strange huts and caves with a refreshingly blasé attitude towards whatever else might be at work in these dark woods. And it's all aided greatly by Moorhead's script and the chemistry between the two leads (both of whom are excellent, as are the support players, some of whom, most surprisingly, are played by the film's crew members!). Busying his script with a number of allusions to potential villains means that Benson and co-director Moorhead have ideas at their mercy as the film enters its final 20 or so minutes. Some viewers may be put off by the filmmakers' decision to turn the work into something apparently concerned with its own deconstruction, especially after initial suggestions of a denouement grounded in reality. But there have been enough nods early on in Resolution to suggest that the film's own texture is the chief nemesis at large; from a moment in the first scene, in fact, when the camera itself seems to be nudged by an unseen force, Benson and Moorhead's film is a smart hybrid/homage horror whose sustained unease lingers long after the end credits have rolled.
The Disc
Accent's Blu-ray release of Resolution offers up a very nice transfer, presented in an aspect ratio of 2:40:1 in 1080p. Shot digitally and set mostly in daylight hours (unusual for a horror flick!), the movie features some great cinematography that is well served with a sharp transfer, good blacks and fine detail, along with colours that are nice and natural. Unfortunately, there are no subtitles available.

As for the audio, I have to admit to being a little concerned at first by the lack of a lossless track, but my fears were soon allayed. As mentioned earlier, there is no musical score (apart from the end credits) and the film is very dialogue driven, but the English Dolby Digital 5.1 track does an excellent job with the film's many sound effects and ambient noise. The surrounds are utilized very well and the subwoofer produces low end rumbles that greatly enhance the suspense.

Extras are fairly plentiful, beginning with two separate commentaries. The first is with writer/directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, and this one is quite interesting, providing much information and many stories involving the making and marketing of an independant film (but don't expect any answers to the film's many riddles). This would be an especially good listen to anyone about to embark on their first feature film production. Next up is a commentary with Benson, Moorhead and lead players, Peter Cilella and Vinny Curran. Unfortunately, I could barely listen to this one all the way through, as it contains far too many 'in-jokes', with all participants talking over each other which sometimes results in a shouting match. Next up is a 21 minute 'Behind The Scenes' featurette which is quite a 'fly-on-the-wall' experience on and off set. Then we have a 5 minute 'Alternate Ending' (which was rightfully ditched), a 10 minute 'Out-Take' reel of goofs, etc, which is quite entertaining, and a segment that runs for a minute and a half called 'Crazy Chris', which is basically the video that the Michael character was sent at the film's outset. The token Accent trailers and Resolution theatrical trailer also make an appearance.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Resolution was a popular entry in various film film festivals, including Tribeca where it played in 2012 and is well worth your time. It's very well made, quite scary even and features great acting, nice cinematography and a spooky soundtrack. You may not have heard of it, but if you're in to supernatural chillers, then this one is for you. Recommended.
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