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Alejandro Amenabar
Ethan Hawke, Emma watson, David Thewlis
Writing Credits:
Alejandro Amenabar

A detective and a psychoanalyst uncover evidence of a satanic cult while investigating the rape of a young woman.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 106 min.
Price: $26.99
Release Date: 5/10/2016

• “Ethan Hawke: Bruce’s Obsession” Featurette
• “Emma Watson: The Complexity of Angels” Featurette
• “The Cast of Regression” Featurette
• “The Vision of Regression” Featurette


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Regression [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 26, 2016)

Back in 2001, Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar earned a decent hit in the US with The Others. After that, though, Amenabar focused on Spanish films before he took a six-year break from features of any sort.

Amenabar returns to the director’s chair with 2015’s psychological thriller Regression. Set in Minnesota circa 1990, Detective Bruce Kenner (Ethan Hawke) investigates a case of sexual abuse. John Gray (David Dencik) admits that he molested his daughter Angela (Emma Watson) but he maintains no actual memories of these deeds.

To spur the investigation, Professor Kenneth Raines (David Thewlis) uses an experimental method that may help bring back Gray’s memories. This opens the proverbial can of worms, as a conspiracy may evolve, one that involves a satanic cult.

I don’t think I’ve seen The Others since 2001, so I don’t remember it especially well. Still, I think I recall that it offered a pretty involving, creepy little understated take on a ghost story. I’m not sure I felt it lived up to its consistently strong reviews, but I thought it worked.

Unfortunately, Regression shows little to none of the filmmaking talent that turned Others into an effective piece. Honestly, it feels like a project led by amateurs, as it seems relentlessly muddled and dull.

How can a movie about devil worship be so persistently blah? Regression feels like too many modern horror movies in that it lacks much real suspense and it usually attempts to “scare” us with cheap jolts.

That said, Regression does try harder than most of its peers to present a creepy, unnerving atmosphere. It takes the “psychological” part of its theme seriously and attempts to get us inside Bruce’s head, especially as the case gets to him and threatens to send him around the bend.

Alas, these efforts fail. The film’s stabs at darkness tend to feel silly, and they lack the dramatic heft they need. We never invest in the issue of Bruce’s potential loss of sanity because the movie never makes this path especially interesting.

Instead, the movie simply meanders from one dull scene to another. Even when the tale goes dark, the results seem so goofy that we don’t buy into them. The film needs an eerie, ominous tone that it completely lacks.

Because of this, Regression turns into a slow, boring journey without any of the psychological impact it needs. The movie hopes to scare us with its dark trek but the results seem flat and free from punch.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus D+

Regression appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect positive visuals here.

Outside of some intentionally blurry photography, sharpness appeared good. The movie displayed nice clarity and definition, with nary a soft spot on display. Jagged edges and moiré effects failed to appear, and I also noticed no edge haloes or print flaws.

In terms of palette, Regression favored quiet tones. It went with gentle teal and/or amber much of the time. These hues lacked much pep but they seemed fine. Blacks appeared full and dense, while low-light shots gave us good clarity. I felt pleased with the transfer.

Though not packed with action, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack accentuated the story. Most of the livelier moments related to flashbacks or storms; those managed to use the spectrum in a vivid manner. Otherwise, the film emphasized quiet ambience and not much more.

Within those gentle confines, sound quality satisfied. Music was full and rich, while effects demonstrated nice clarity and accuracy. Speech came across as crisp and natural, though a few lines showed less than convincing looping. The mix didn’t do much but it seemed acceptable.

In terms of extras, the package includes four short featurettes. We find “Ethan Hawke – Bruce’s Obsession” (2:04), “Emma Watson – The Complexity of Angels” (2:30), “The Cast of Regression” (2:26) and “The Vision of Regression” (2:43). Across these, we hear from producer Fernando Bovaira, writer/director Alejandro Amenabar, and actors Ethan Hawke, Emma Watson, David Thewlis, Lothaire Bloteau, David Dencik, and Dale Dickey. The clips cover story/characters as well as cast and performances. A few minor filmmaking tidbits emerge, but the pieces mainly promote the movie.

One might expect suspense and drama from a movie about Satanists and/or a cop’s mental deterioration, but Regression fails to deliver the goods. Despite its attempts at darkness and psychological depth, the film remains dull and insubstantial. The Blu-ray brings us positive picture and audio but lacks significant bonus materials. Chalk up Regression as a forgettable disappointment.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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