REVIEW: Resurrection [2022]

Rating: 8 out of 10.
  • Rating: NR | Runtime: 103 minutes
    Release Date: July 29th, 2022 (USA)
    Studio: IFC Films / Shudder
    Director(s): Andrew Semans
    Writer(s): Andrew Semans

Do you think you could kill someone?

It starts with a hair. Both a blemish ruining an otherwise immaculate office and a remnant of someone no longer present. Then there comes a tooth implausibly found within the change pouch of a wallet, escalating those aspects while moving beyond innocuous to menacing. Because a hair isn’t a threat—not on its surface. Neither is a tooth except for it being found somewhere much less readily available to strangers than an entire room. Taken together they demand we stop and pause, though. What does it mean? Whose could they be? These questions devoid of discernable answers born from confused curiosity multiply until someone who instills a debilitating sense of fear is seen in the distance. Suddenly everything comes into focus. A monster has returned. Nothing is safe.

This is Margaret’s (Rebecca Hall) experience at the beginning of Andrew Semans‘ sophomore effort Resurrection. It’s palpable too once the odd eccentricity of her controlled life gradually frays in the lead-up to her panic attack upon seeing David (Tim Roth) for the first time in twenty-two years. She’s “supposed” to be strong—as if unraveling at the sight of an abuser makes her weak. She’s the one people come to for advice (playing therapist to Angela Wong Carbone‘s intern Gwyn insofar as setting relationship boundaries and realizing when the person you think you love is a sadist gaslighting you into believing otherwise). And she’s the one who protects those she loves (keeping a leash, albeit loosely, on her eighteen-year-old daughter Abbie, played by Grace Kaufman, to maintain trust).

Is David the sole reason for her anxiety? No. Work is at a crucial juncture with important meetings filling her schedule and Abbie is about to start college two hours away in the fall. The stress is therefore mounting. Add a cycling accident (Margaret has never let her daughter ride due to the danger) and the growing affection of a married man (Michael Esper‘s Peter) with whom she’s having what she believes is a purely physical affair and the pressure only increases towards that uncharacteristic injection of fight or flight alarm opposite David. To then learn that the reason for their estrangement stems from a different child, one that has been dead those same two decades, makes us wonder if Margaret’s reality has blurred beyond recognition.

We must think this for a couple reasons. One, Margaret begins having darkly surreal nightmares triggered by David’s return. Two, no matter how good Hall’s delivery (she’s fantastic yet again) of a monologue detailing the psychological torture she endured at his hand is, the content of said story is completely bonkers. And that’s okay. We don’t need the events driving Margaret to the brink of oblivion to be true. We simply need them to be true to her. She can project or embellish or imagine whatever she must to process their time together. All that matters is the fact that he is a predator. He’s hunted her down despite lengths taken to ensure he couldn’t, and he poses a threat to hers and her daughter’s lives.

Yet the timing remains suspect. Margaret is pushing herself to extremes professionally and personally and the thought of losing Abbie to school can be enough to spark the memories she has repressed as far as losing her baby with David. Is his appearance therefore a figment of her imagination? Maybe. As the police officer she enlists for help admits, nothing can be done unless he harms her. If David keeps his distance in public places without doing anything but existing in the periphery to augment her fear, he’s legally within his rights. So, what if Margaret’s mind has conjured him to give life to her unease? What if her mind has crafted an elaborate scheme to amplify her trauma to the point of refusing to let Abbie go?

The psychological ramification of her present state is authentically drawn. What she believes David can do is feasible and what she’s willing to do to combat it is too. The question is thus whether the cost will prove too much. Following her gut to stalk him means letting everything else suffer. Suddenly she’s not going to work. She’s not sleeping. She’s moving the “over-protective parent” gauge beyond a healthy threshold and ultimately causing Abbie to fear her more than any “stranger” who may or may not be hiding in the shadows. It’s the perfect set-up for a metaphorical reckoning that thrillers of this type must possess to prove their worth and yet Semans decides to take things even further by making said metaphor real. Contextually speaking at least.

I won’t ruin the “bonkers” aspect of Margaret and David’s past. Just know that the film treats it as truth. Her fear and his menace both hinge upon that shared history and progress forward through its reality. There’s no time to therefore laugh. There’s no time to even try and find the strings to pull that might reveal the holes in the plot. All we receive are the escalating stakes surrounding what David represents and what the past twenty-two years have given Margaret the ability to do that she couldn’t then. Will she push him too far and risk Abbie’s life? Will his games force Margaret’s hand to act first? Will Abbie stick around long enough to find out? It all leads to an unforgettably gruesome genre climax.

Should we take it at face value? That’s in the eye of the beholder. Resurrection centering Margaret’s experience doesn’t mean we can’t still have been tricked (and a stark tonal shift for the denouement almost screams that we have courtesy of a brilliant sensory crescendo before cutting to black). Either everything we witnessed was filtered through a broken mind desperate to make sense of her worst nightmare or Semans’ world is one where the impossible is possible. Regardless, neither answer negates what Margaret goes through. She couldn’t save her baby then and won’t make the same mistake twice. Does it matter whether Abbie needs that protection? No. What matters is that Margaret won’t run away. Not from David. Not from her demons. This is what she must do.

[1] Rebecca Hall as “Margaret” in Andrew Semans’ RESURRECTION. Courtesy of IFC Films. An IFC Films release.
[2] (L-R) Tim Roth as “David” andRebecca Hall as “Margaret” in Andrew Semans’ RESURRECTION. Courtesy of IFC Films. An IFC Films release.
[3] Rebecca Hall as “Margaret” in Andrew Semans’ RESURRECTION. Courtesy of IFC Films. An IFC Films release.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.