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Movie Review

Regression also known as “Régression,” “Korku Terapisi,” “Regresija,” “Regresión,” “Regressão”

MPAA Rating: R for disturbing violent and sexual content, and for language.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Crime Mystery Drama
Length:
1 hr. 46 min.
Year of Release:
2016
USA Release:
February 5, 2016 (100 theaters)
DVD: May 10, 2016
Copyright, Dimension Films, a division of The Weinstein Company click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Dimension Films, a division of The Weinstein Company Copyright, Dimension Films, a division of The Weinstein Company Copyright, Dimension Films, a division of The Weinstein Company Copyright, Dimension Films, a division of The Weinstein Company Copyright, Dimension Films, a division of The Weinstein Company
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Dimension Films, a division of The Weinstein Company

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

murder

Satanists / Satan / Devil

Satanic cults

Is Satan a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer

SATAN’S STRATEGY—What is one of Satan’s most successful strategies in dealing with followers of Christ? Answer

What is one of Satan’s most successful strategies in dealing with followers of Christ? Answer

demons in the Bible

Featuring: Emma WatsonAngela Gray
Ethan HawkeBruce Kenner
Devon Bostick … Roy Gray
Aaron Ashmore
David Thewlis … Professor Kenneth Raines
Dale Dickey … Rose Gray
Kristian Bruun … Andrew
Aaron Abrams … Farrell
Adam Butcher … Brody
more »
Director: Alejandro Amenábar—“The Others” (2001), “The Sea Inside” (2005) “Agora”
Producer: Mod Producciones
First Generation Films
more »
Distributor: Dimension Films, a division of The Weinstein Company

The year is 1990. The text at the beginning of the film informs us that during this time much speculation came about regarding Satanic practices, rituals and investigations. “Regression” follows one such case…

The story takes place in the town of Holyoke. Detective Bruce Kenner (Ethan Hawke) is assigned to investigate the events of a sexual assault case involving a local mechanic John Gray and the victim, his daughter, Angela Gray (Emma Watson).

However, there’s an angle with this case. John has no memory of ever assaulting Angela. So, Bruce calls in a psychoanalyst, Dr. Kenneth Raines (David Thewlis), to place John under a therapeutic technique called “regression.” In this state, through means of dialog, the psychoanalyst helps the patient unlock memories that the mind is trying to close off.

Supposedly, the regression works. John mentions there was another person in the room, not John, who was actually the one sexually assaulting Angela, in a ritualistic manner. Turns out the guy in that room is a fellow officer… well, a crooked officer. As Bruce investigates, it turns out Angela claims that her father and this other guy are part of the Satanic cult.

Of course, with all the talk about Satanism going around town, Bruce investigates the mysterious circumstances surrounding the case. Who is responsible for assaulting Angela? Is Satanism for real?

So many questions… and only 2 hours to answer them.

Are you ready for the world’s shortest review? I can sum up my thoughts in three words. Here it is: AVOID…THIS…MOVIE! There is absolutely, NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING, redemptive or redeeming about this film.

From the beginning of the film to the closing credits, every scene feels as if it is an homage to the practice of Satanism or molestation, whether it iss the atmosphere of the film itself or whether it is by action, regardless of whether or not this was the director or production company’s intention. I witnessed graphic, ungodly scenes performed by “Satanists” and heard disgusting dialog in this film that I WISH I could forget (I will explain, unfortunately, in the content section, below). Even now I scratch my head and ask, “What I was thinking?”

*Please be aware some of the content I have listed is graphic is nature.*

Violence: During some flashbacks, there are scenes where Satanists are sacrificing babies (the baby is not shown though, just heard). Again, in the same flashback, Satanists are seen torturing each other (?). There is also one scene involving a character jumping out a large window and breaking her neck. Three characters engage in a fight.

Profanity/Vulgarity: There is explicit dialog regarding the Satanic practices that occur, including portions where Angela goes into relatively graphic detail of a Satanic ritual and how they branded an upside down cross on her. While John’s undergoing regression, Bruce constantly reads back the statement Angela to gave to John at the same time. In the ritual, we can hear Satanists chanting prayers to Satan. Other profanity includes: sh*t (7), bull-sh*t (3), d**n-it, G*d (4), h***(4), S.O.B. (1), f*ck (1) and b***rd.

Sex/Nudity: Extreme. Angela’s molestation case is the center of the entire film and as such we’re are reminded of it consistently. This comes in the form of a blurry flashback (as mentioned in the summary) involving Angela and a mysterious figure. Two Satanists are seen having bare sexual intercourse in a car. In a nightmare, Bruce is drugged by Satanists, while an elderly naked woman rapes him. In another seen Angela and Bruce inappropriately kiss each other.

Other: Again, Satanism is a primary theme throughout this film. There are also images of an upside cross, as well as scenes involving alcohol and smoking.

Moral

Often times, we as Christians, forget that we have an enemy, lurking in the darkness. He has many names: Satan, Lucifer, the Devil. His primary mission is to separate us from God. As the pastor in the movie points out as well, “to confuse us.” He also wants us to think we’re so comfortable that we won’t need God. The Bible warns us about him.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a lion, seeking someone to devour -1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)

The Bible warns us to always be on our guard. Again, in the first part of John 10:10 it states:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy”

The only way to resist the devil is to fight him through our faith in God. To stand firm in our walk with Him. To follow Christ and love and serve Him. In the second part of that same verse it states:

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. –Ephesians 6:11 (ESV)

Closing Thoughts

Don’t waste your time with “Regression.” As I said, there’s nothing redemptive or glorifying to God in this film. Don’t expose yourself to this. Please do yourself a favor, as I have done this for you already, and avoid this movie at all costs.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


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Movie Critics

…Dark, smart, and involving, but too safe… satisfying as a compact, if over-cautious, horror-tinged psychological thriller. But it's most interesting beneath its polished, doomy surface, where complex concerns about the cultural origins of our fears are skillfully explored. …
—Jonathan Holland, The Hollywood Reporter

…disappointingly cautious tale of small-town Satanic suspicion… the pic is neither disquieting enough to take seriously, nor lurid enough for fright-night indulgence. …
—Guy Lodge, Variety

…uneven chiller… a largely forgettable affair inspired by cases of ‘satanic abuse’… [3/5]
—Mark Kermode, The Observer

…Some of this loud horror material looks frankly absurd …in trying to combine the perceptiveness of a drama about mass hysteria and poor police work with the jump-in-your-seat frisson of a thriller, Regression is killed in the crossfire.
—Lee Marshall, Screen Daily

…it’s a crunching disappointment: a dull, crass, formulaic and frankly misjudged chiller about a case of supposed satanic abuse set in the US in 1990. …it ends with wince-inducing implications about who is to be believed. …
—Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian (UK)

…gory and corny… painfully unsubtle supernatural thriller… [2/5]
—Robbie Collin, The Telegraph

…a moody psycho-thriller that’s also his [director Alejandro Amenábar] least ambitious and most woolgathering work to date… “Regression” spends a lot of time considering the fear of knowing, which may explain why Amenábar didn't seem to know what kind of film he was making. [2/5]
—Drew Hunt, Slant

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