Fantasia 2012: Benson and Moorhead Give Us ‘Resolution’ to Tired Horror Tropes
Written by Justin Benson
Directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Scott Moorhead
It would be easy to compare Resolution to The Cabin in the Woods, both films tackle the horror tropes surrounding the titular isolated cabin in the woods, digging into the meta-narrative that informs the trope, but they come at the text from completely opposite directions. The comparison that felt more apt to me, while I was watching one of the best films at Fantasia this year, is linking Resolution to the H. P. Lovecraft film adaptation The Whisperer in Darkness. Lovingly recreated by fans,The Whisperer in Darkness tries to faithfully adapt Lovecraft’s work by using the media, tropes, and especially film style, that dominated when Lovercraft penned the original short story. In the case of Resolution, Benson and Moorhead tell a Lovecraftian tale, but instead of focusing on one media and style, they use any and all media at their disposal from YouTube to cave paintings and everything in between.
But Resolution is not a Lovecraft tale… except that it could be… only it isn’t.
Confused? I am not certain that seeing the film would make it any clearer. Benson and Moorhead are like movie theatre ninjas, sneaking behind your row, unscrewing the bolts that lock down your skull, flipping your lid and injecting 10 CCs of pure cinematic mind-fuck directly into your cerebral cortex.
The set-up of the film is that father-to-be Michael Danube (Peter Cilella) receives a disturbing online video of his best friend Chris Daniels (Vinny Curran) stoned out of his mind, shooting up the woods. Abandoning his pregnant wife, Michael uses the location tag on the video to track down Chris to a run-down cabin in Northern California, outside a small town so isolated that the only way to get a cell signal is to drive out the highway off-ramp. After surviving the reunion, during which the paranoid Chris keeps trying to shoot the birds who have been “spying” on him, Michael succeeds in handcuffing Chris to the interior wall of the cabin. Michael’s plan is simple, albeit insane: keep Chris restrained for a week until he dries up completely and then check him into rehab.
That’s when the weird shit starts to happen.
Resolution is definitely a slow-burn type horror film, building one strange occurrence on to another bizarre encounter on to another weird discovery like a game of Jenga made out of Escher blocks. Like a Ti West film, Benson and Moorhead utilize a cunning sound score to keep you off balance, along with limited, but extremely effective visual fx.
Where Cabin in the Woods deliberately uses the stereotypes of the genre and then uses those stereotypes to better explain the tropes of the genre, Resolution discards the stereotypes to build two fascinating and real characters… whose interaction better explains the tropes of the genre.
– Michael Ryan