Regression is an 2015 Canadian-Spanish psychological thriller film directed, produced and written by Alejandro Amenábar. The film stars Ethan Hawke, Emma Watson and David Thewlis.
When the film was still in production, there were rumours floating around that Emma Watson will be doing her first nude scene in this movie, due to a suggestive trailer which was released as a publicity stunt. Not true. The only thing she bared was her rare emotions and acting prowess as a serious actress.
Minnesota, 1990. Detective Bruce Kenner (Ethan Hawke) investigates the case of young Angela (Emma Watson), who accuses her father, John Gray (David Dencik), of an unspeakable crime. When John unexpectedly and without recollection admits guilt, renowned psychologist Dr. Raines (David Thewlis) is brought in to help him relive his memories and what they discover unmasks a horrifying nationwide mystery.
The storyline is pretty straightforward and is themed around the “Satanic Ritual Abuse” moral panic which started in the United States back in the good old 80s. Back then, many people were accused of being engaged in ‘satanic rituals’, joining satanic cults and partaking in weird rituals like killing babies and drinking blood.
Not true as no evidence was ever produced. What happened was mass hysteria, where people spread fear and feed it to each other.
Both Hawke and Watson got to show off their acting chops in the movie and they were the ones who carried the story along. If not for their great onscreen presence, the story might have fallen quite flat.
At the preview screening, while I did find the film enjoyable, I did not found it to be particularly groundbreaking, compared to similar thrillers like Prisoners (2013) or even The Lovely Bones (2009). Nonetheless, some members of the audience applauded at the end. I am assuming they are probably Emma Watson’s fans, given that she gave a pretty solid performance in the show to break away from her shadows of being that little girl in the Harry Potter movies.
Regression is worth the watch just to catch Watson in a non-Harry Potter role.
Regression is rated NC16 and is now showing in Singapore cinemas.