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Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson in ‘Regression’

Regression: Review

GeorgeTaylor GeorgeTaylor Regression is a very old fashioned, suspenseful thriller Directed by an Academy Award winning director and features a stellar cast.


The movie centres around a small American town in the 1990's and looks into the claims of rape and its link to a Satanic cult operating within this small town. Ethan Hawke plays the detective, supported by a Psychologist played by David Thewlis, looking into a case of awful behaviour by a father towards his daughter portrayed by the ever sublime Emma Watson.

Important point

This movie got awful reviews by some of the major online movie review sites. The film sits at a 16% on Rotten Tomatoes, a 5.7/10 on IMDB etc. This film will divide people due to its old fashioned style. One of my favourite YouTube reviewers, being Chris Stuckmann, gave this movie a 'B'. Something that I think is a more adequate score for this movie. However, these are just some of my thoughts on the movie.

Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson in ‘Regression’
Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson in ‘Regression’


The style. This is a very old fashioned film, and is a great step away from the normal over blown, eye-watering budget size movies we see nowadays. Chris Stuckmann outlines its style as being a movie that could have come out '10 or 20 years ago'. Which is a nice detour from other movies, especially those thrillers or horrors that are constantly in your face and possibly too eccentric. However, this approach could have been taken as this film at its core is a thriller mystery; and it is a thriller alright.

The suspense and thriller nature. This film had me with a near constant sense of dread, sorrow and anxiety nearly throughout the entire film; it is something that the movie nails. The atmosphere is intense pretty much all the time, as the movie goes on this sense builds and builds with each scene as new details are discovered and new revelations take place. There are many scenes that stick in my mind, three of which, one involving a scene with Ethan Hawke in his house in the midsection of the film, is truly, truly unsettling; but masterful filmmaking.

New details are revealed
New details are revealed

The characters. Ethan Hawke plays a conflicted detective and provides a sublime performance throughout. A particular mention goes to his characters paranoia that consumes him as the film goes on, and is great to witness the character change his views on life, the paranormal and religion throughout. Then there is Emma Watson (I'll be honest, I absolutely adore this woman. So I may be slightly biased here, but its my opinion at the end of the day.) Emma gives a strong performance, nothing amazing, but a strong performance overall. She plays a girl who has been badly affected by past experiences, and I really felt for her character as it seems everything bad finds its way into her life. It would of been nice to see her more often, but the time we do spend with her are some of the highlights and really advance the plot.

The score. The score is present not a lot of time in the movie, slightly odd. But the score centres around the theme of religion and certain things that some people do not believe, such as the Devil and the paranormal elements. If I were to describe the score it would be, music that floats on the wind. Certain parts of the score, especially the parts of the end credits score and others during the movie, if I were to hear them at night whilst in bed, I would pelt it out of the house immediately.


The ending. The ending does make the movie feel, a tad deflated. No spoilers obviously, but it will disappoint some people. I found it disappointing, but once you think about it and how we got to the ending, it actually makes sense and has a much deeper meaning.

The style. The film itself may bore some viewers, and I can see why, as it is such a step away from the in your face style of thrillers and movies that are released nowadays. The movie is an hour and three quarters long, which is a perfect run time, but some viewers will find its style and ending, when combined, will generate a negative view of the film. Each to their own on this one as always. I loved it, others will not.

The first meet.
The first meet.

The deeper meaning

Once the film ended, I thought about the movie and found a deeper meaning to it. The film is about help, and I think perceptions and revenge. Emma Watsons character, I truly felt for through out, even more so after the ending. She was so damaged, so betrayed and so devastated that revenge and destroying her family members was all she cared about; that in itself made me almost cry (I nearly cried on several occasions. Due to fear, shock and emotional attachment to Watson's character). The film puts forward an idea, which I have thought of; in early life and throughout their lives, you must look after and look out for those who you love. The father of Watson's character looks back at his and her life, and sees he did not do enough to provide and care for her, now she wants to harm them for it. The message is; help them grow and love them, or have to bear witness to what they may or have become because of it. I think, a very potent and emotional message that may of been missed by some.

Emma Watson's character seeks help
Emma Watson's character seeks help

Final thoughts

Regression is a unique, old fashioned, brilliant and suspenseful thriller. It has moments of true suspense and scares that leave an imprint. Characters that you truly feel for and a deeper message that hammers home an emotional message. This movie does not deserve the criticism that it received in my opinion, there are flaws, but its positives, the style, the characters and the edge of your seat, bite your nails suspense makes this, now, one of my favourite movies of the year.


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