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With: Emma Watson, Ethan Hawke, David Thewlis, Devon Bostick, Aaron Ashmore, Dale Dickey, David Dencik, Lothaire Bluteau, Adam Butcher, Kristian Bruun, Aaron Abrams
Written by: Alejandro Amenábar
Directed by: Alejandro Amenábar
MPAA Rating: R for disturbing violent and sexual content, and for language
Running Time: 106
Date: 02/05/2016
IMDB

Regression (2016)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Hypnotize Me

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This is a movie that, because it deals secrets, promises thrills and possibly a measure of terror. But in fact, everything is based on an anti-climax, and the end result is a resounding "so what?" In the beginning of his career, Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar made a superb, mind-bending thriller, Open Your Eyes, that inspired an America remake (Vanilla Sky). He followed it with the terrific ghost story The Others, but since then, his work has become turgid and spotty.

In 1990, in Minnesota, police detective Bruce Kenner (Ethan Hawke) investigates the case of a man accused of molesting his daughter Angela (Emma Watson). The man believes in his own guilt, even though he can't remember doing anything. Professor Kenneth Raines (David Thewlis) is called in to perform hypnotic regression therapy, which reveals terrifying suggestions of satanic cult rituals. The more Bruce digs into the case, the deeper the images of the sinister satanic practices become etched in his brain. Yet he can find not a shred of evidence. Will Bruce get to the bottom of this strange case?

He seems to be on auto-pilot on Regression, installing the obligatory twists and surprises from his earlier films, without realizing that the basic message of the movie would have been better served with a straightforward approach. As a result of this approach, the actors seem detached, as if not sure where their characters were headed. In particular, the Ethan Hawke character and the David Thewlis character might have made an interesting team, but they don't really connect. Neither does anything else in this movie.

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