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  • Film
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Photograph: Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Wyatt Garfield

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Rebecca Hall battles deeply toxic masculinity in this gripping, gruesome thriller

Single mum Margaret (Rebecca Hall) has no trouble controlling the corporate world she excels in: leading presentations, conducting an affair with a married man, and advising an intern to ditch her errant boyfriend. But as daughter Abbie (Grace Kaufman) prepares for university, there’s a stranger and more vicious threat at play than mere empty-nest syndrome. Former partner David, performed with a quietly demonic intensity by Tim Roth, has started appearing around town. Their partnership finished 22 years ago, when Margaret was an impressionable young adult herself – and it didn’t end amicably.

At first, Resurrection writer-director Andrew Semans presents a straightforward, if frightening tale of stress and stalking. Amid the sleek, sterile, and almost other-worldly surroundings of Albany in upstate New York, Margaret’s increasing agitation is carefully calibrated with each sighting of David. Given the genre’s history, we wonder if the real trauma is only imagined – Repulsion casts a long shadow, and yields many inferior copies. 

Hearing the horrific explanation Margaret gives a colleague about why she left David, we hope she is imagining things. When we hear his side of things, it must be gaslighting, surely. He promises her access to the son she believed to be dead if she performs a series of what he calls ‘kindnesses’. These turn out to be depraved endurance tests that take things into darker, bloodier realms than mere mind games.

Hall is typically excellent as a woman heading past the edge of a nervous breakdown

Without exactly revolutionising the form, Semans’s debut delivers an unsettling tale of psychological torment and the kind of creeping dread and shocking climax that hallmarks some of the best horror. Hall is typically excellent as a woman heading past the edge of a nervous breakdown. And Roth’s fiendish task-setting antagonist? He’s near impossible to shake.

Streaming on Shudder in the US and available on VOD in the UK now.

Written by
Lou Thomas

Cast and crew

  • Director:Andrew Semans
  • Screenwriter:Andrew Semans
  • Cast:
    • Angela Wong Carbone
    • Rebecca Hall
    • Tim Roth
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