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In a small religious town, there is the belief that there are satanic cults doing the devil’s bidding, and one young woman is their latest victim. Problem is, the man she claims used to rape her as part of the rituals is her father and he doesn’t remember a thing.
Trigger Warning(s): Rape (Spoken on, and briefly seen), Blood, and Implied murder of infant
Characters & Story (with Commentary)
Satan keeps the church in business. A saying which seems undoubtedly true in Hoyer, Minnesota. For with mass hysteria about some book dealing with a girl who lived within a satanic cult on the news, paranoia is everywhere. However, in this one small town, a girl named Angela (Emma Watson) is claiming what others may think could never happen in Hoyer has.
Thus leading one Bruce Kenner (Ethan Hawke) onto the case to investigate Angela’s claims. Of which are hard to substantiate since her father John (David Dencik) is a mess, grandmother Rose (Dale Dickey) is an alcoholic and her brother Roy (Devon Bostick) is off on the east coast. However, as Angela story is told piece by piece, Bruce begins to see everything add up and realize something is very wrong here. Leaving us to wonder if he may finally put the mosaic together before it is too late?
It Can Be A Little Creepy: If you watch this in a dark room, or while it is nighttime, there are moments in the film where you will feel uneasy. Be it when Bruce finds himself visited by uninvited guests, when Rose is outside looking for her cat or even Angela at times can seem like all she is doing is leading Bruce into a trap.
Sometimes It Is Hard To Figure Who Is A Good Guy or Not: Similar to Mindscape, we have a young woman make an accusation which many find hard to believe. However, with a confession within the first few minutes of the film, we are sent from wondering if we may watch a film about a town denying a girl has been raped, to wondering who is, or isn’t, part of a local satanic cult. Which, as noted in the first bit of praise, becomes difficult for Angela lays down enough paranoia material that you can fully understand why it drives the town nuts.
I Should Have Watched The Trailer: When the film seemed to be about a man denying he raped his daughter, it seemed like an interesting flick to watch. After all, it has Ethan Hawke, Emma Watson, and a few other familiar faces. However, once Satan and satanic cults became part of the situation, instantly I knew this wasn’t going to be as good as I thought it would be. Something which sadly ended up being true.
Cheaply Uses Religion and Satanism: Consider the way Satan is used in this film to be similar to how Russians, North Korean, and Muslim majority countries are used in modern times as villains. It’s cheap, everything seems like you heard it or seen it before, and then comes the Christian faith aspect. Now, perhaps one of the big issues I had with the film is that it didn’t really push the concept of faith in the type of way which could have really pushed things.
What I mean by this is, considering how all of Angela’s family seem to be god fearing people, you’d think they would have had more scenes in the church, more scenes of Reverend Murray (Lothaire Bluteau) preaching, and have really honed how this town is a god fearing one, which has heretics amongst its flock. That is, as opposed to having Christian faith thrown out there cheaply and often being used by the characters who seem like they lost their damn mind. All the while, the characters who are thinking people don’t seem to have any faith at all and make those who believe seem like backwater people.
Final Thought(s): Skip It
Between Cry_Wolf and Mindscape, you could find better films with similar premises dealing with wild accusations and questioning who is telling the truth, and who is on whose side. With Regression, however, once you see the lines of this being based on a true event, and then hearing about satanic cults, it is all downhill from there. For even with Hawke and Watson performing well, it is hard to take any of what is said or shown seriously since there is an utter lack of originality in the depiction of Satanism. Plus, there is this air of camp which destroys any believability in the seriousness of the situation.
Things To Note
Isn’t it interesting both Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson star in a movie dealing with devil possession and a man forgetting what he has done? Though I would say Horns is a better feature than this.