Directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead
Written by Justin Benson
In Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s Resolution, Michael (Peter Cilella), after receiving a mysterious video, sets out to the backwaters to help save and sober up his estranged crack-addicted friend Chris (Vinny Curran). Finding him in a rundown cabin, Michael handcuffs Chris to a pipe in an impromptu attempt at an intervention. As their relationship also goes into rehabilitation mode, they are confronted by a series of confrontational neighbours and mysterious pieces of left behind information, ranging from old photos to diaries, VHS tapes, film reels, and vinyl records.
Initially, the film starts off as a rather innocuous drama about two friends. There’s hefty talk about their regrets, people and events from their past (especially from high school), their different life directions, and their tenuous relationship. Due to some good chemistry between the leads and some sharp dialogue, this adds some dimension and depth to the protagonists as well as offering some vulgar humour. Interestingly, this level of character interaction and exposition, which would typically last for one act in any other movie, extends to almost the whole duration in Resolution, with the occasional confrontation and mysterious discovery thrown in between.
Throughout, these instances, where horror tropes are turned into jokes (i.e. mysterious woman at the window), build up to the film’s real raison d’être, which is a Meta and critical look at the genre; particularly found footage. The characters are integral this type of storytelling (flipping our perceptions about the unreliable narrator and the audience surrogate), with the more ambiguous aspects of Resolution remaining ambiguous. It’s the characters that expose the tropes themselves by being real people, instead of a more ornate and elaborate exercise as was Cabin in the Woods. Smart and methodical, Resolution, despite its limited means, is an indie film that has a reach as far as its grasp.
– Justin Li
The 7th annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival runs from October 18-26. For a complete schedule and ticket information, please visit the offical website.