Rebecca Hall has found her niche in the wife character in unhinged, quasi-psycho thriller-horrors. First The Night House, and now Resurrection. Fan of adrenaline-pumping, anxiety-inducing dramas? You’ve come to the right stop at Resurrection, but maybe it took it a pinch too off the rails.
Resurrection is directed by Andrew Semans and stars Rebecca Hall, Tim Roth, and Grace Kaufman. It follows successful business executive Margaret (Hall) who leads a controlled and disciplined life, until David (Roth) returns, bringing the horrors of Margaret’s past with him.
The first hour of Resurrection was gripping. Rebecca Hall continues to impress in this niche – she begins the film well put together and slowly descends into madness with the return of Tim Roth’s David. Her ability to portray the effects of long-term abuse is nothing short of breathtaking as she uses facial expressions, body movements, tics, and more to invoke anxiety. She is absolutely phenomenal in her physical abilities with shortness of breath, manic hand gestures and movements, and full-on running away from Roth’s character after spotting him in a conference. This is Hall’s second jaw-dropping performance in the genre and she’s found her stamp in this niche.
Roth is no slouch either. He flips into creepy dialogue on command and knows how to portray a schizophrenic psycho. And the dynamic between Hall and Grace Kaufman helps tether the story along, as Abbie (Kaufman) becomes more concerned that her mother is out to get her.
Technically, the film also shines. The editing keeps you on your toes as it cuts tastefully from scene to scene as we witness Margaret’s mental dive. The cinematography gets creepier as the movie continues – with uncomfortable slow zooms as the disturbing details of Margaret’s past are revealed. The camera acts like a character in the story that pulls you into the frenzy during the best shots. All of these things are blended with a score that uses heartbeats to truly characterize the nerve-wracking tension make for a creepy ride.
What Doesn’t Work
While the acting and some technical elements work, unfortunately, the story, writing, and pacing suffer. The script and story took some odd turns into cannibalism, which I didn’t see coming. Roth’s character began delivering strange lines about eating another being and it took a turn from serious, anxiety-inducing thriller to off-the-rails unhinged horror that took it too far and the script became goofy with those lines.
The movie fantastically builds up to this mysterious past and continuously has viewers questioning “what’s going on?” But when it’s revealed, it’s almost too over the top to be believable. A movie like Hereditary builds itself to a horrific ending while Resurrection, unfortunately, doesn’t bread crumb to an ending that intense.
Resurrection also becomes a little murky with the pacing, where it felt a little too long to get to Margaret’s past and why she was acting so manic. It felt as though the movie was trying to hold it back for as long as possible, but couldn’t quite pinpoint a good time to reveal it.
Rebecca Hall has found her mark in horror. And while other performances and technical elements hit high points, unfortunately it isn’t enough to save the slight burn that the ending and poor pacing that Resurrection leaves.
Resurrection is currently showing at Sundance Film Festival.