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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I saw RESOLUTION at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal. It's an effective little slow-build movie that does nearly everything right for a low budget suspense horror movie.

The core of the movie is a relationship: an everyman, Michael, tries to get his meth-head best friend from grade school, Chris, straightened out by handcuffing him to the wall of his cabin in the woods. The biggest part of the movie is just the two of them talking: Michael trying to talk his friend into coming out of his addiction, Chris trying to convince Michael to let him "die on my own terms."

It's no accident the two are so good together. Writer-director Justin Benson wrote the parts for them. Then he and his co-director, Aaron Moorhead, rehearsed them for three solid months.

The result, as Stanislavski could tell you, of months of rehearsals, is a performance that feels like no one's acting, they're just real people going through stuff.

Of course it wouldn't be a cabin in the woods if they weren't going to scare you. Some of the scares are human. But then Michael starts finding all sorts of recordings in various media suggesting terrible things that may have happened in the environs.

Complications ensue.

I spent much of the movie really tense and worried, waiting for the monster to jump out and scare me. The co-directors neatly make their world intently creepy without hammering you with music or obvious creepshow moments; I don't think there even.was a score. (No one seems to be credited with one.) There was always just enough to give me a sense of dread.

For my taste, the ending was a bit post-modern and clever; less emotionally satisfying than I would have preferred. It felt a bit shaggy-dog at the end. But the two guys who made this movie with their savings have come out with a very impressive debut.

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