Director: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead. Written by: Justin Benson. Starring: Peter Cilella, Vinny Curran, Bill Oberst Jr, Zahn McClarnon. USA, 2012. IMDB: 6.2. Budget: unknown, but very small. My rating: 4/4. Horror meditation wrapped into a puzzle.

– You know why Jimi Hendrix died? He didn’t have Mike Danube and a set of handcuffs to save his life.
(Mike Danube to Chris)

”Resolution”, surprisingly, is more a movie about horror genre than a horror itself. Just like if ”Cabin in the Woods” met David Lynch.

A directional debut by two young filmmakers, ”Resolution” tries to refresh the old genre and succeeds, being both a great story and a contemplation about the horror, cinema and itself as well. It is not pretentious though, but fun to watch, thrilling, tense and spectacular – even if you don’t care that much about its meditation about the genre. 


The plot. Simple but effective and it keeps the movie pulsating. Mike Danube (Peter Cilella) visits his old school friend Chris (Vinny Curran) to help in overcoming the drug use. Chris is almost a junkie now, moving from one abandoned house to another. He is honest in admitting to be completely happy in his drug oblivion. This time, Chris found some cabin on the outskirts of an Indian reservation. Strange place. Nevertheless Mike is determined to kick the shit out of him, so he locks him up in the house with a chain and provides him some food and water. But pretty quick they discover that something really weird goes on around the house. And very soon weird turns into scary.

It’s full of weird people here. Hostile native Indians, UFO researchers, junkies, bums… Not much gore, but there is no need for it – most characters already look strange enough. ”Resolution”has it’s own great atmosphere and has lots of classic things you would expect from a horror movie, though it blends them in the story in a different way. So till the very end you have no clue of what is actually happening. A great example of an indie sci-fi film with horror spirit.

Of course, a low-budget movie like that would be nothing without great acting – and it is here. Both Cilella and Curran are amazing, and all the mysteries a part, it is still a wonderful story (well, if a story about a junkie rehab can be described with this word). Cilella is very convincing – a designer, who preferred to have stable job instead of reaching his early dreams, good guy, married, absolutely convinced in his right to force Chris to detox. Curran is awesome, as he swings between depression, suicide, peaceful contemplation of the world, fear, absence and acceptance. All other episodic characters were great as well. Especially the creepy French occult scientist played by Bill Oberst Jr.

Reception. “Resolution” received a bunch of awards on sci-fi festivals and was praised by critics (100% RT… even if just 9 reviews, but still), festivals and public. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any information about the box office or budget (I am pretty sure it was a very low budget). The next film by Moorhead and Benson (yes, they continued their cooperation!), ”Spring”, was released in 2015, and has a very unusual approach too. Their new film, ”Endless”, is coming out soon.

So, a great debut from Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. Very refreshing. It has all the elements in the right place and something more to offer. Imagine you are assembling a jigsaw puzzle. But then in the middle of it you realize there is actually a bigger puzzle, being assembled by somebody and you are just a small piece of it. Truly ingenious and witty movie. Entertaining, vibrant and fun to watch. It’s really rare to see all these qualities in one movie. Many compared it to the “Cabin in the Woods“. That one was awesome as hell too, but they are of different nature. Let’s say they offer different approach in dissecting the horror genre.

Spectacularity: 3.5/4
Acting:  4/4
Directing: 4/4
Originality: 4/4
Final vote: 4/4

Worth watching? Absolutely. This movie approaches mystery and horror in its own way. Apparently, it plays by the classic rules. But the more you watch, the more you get sucked in, because at a certain point you understand that this movie follows only its own rules.

You can stream it for a ridiculous price here on Amazon, plus they have a DVD/Blu-Ray too. I can’t get tired repeating again and again – support independent movies like that! Trust me, Marvel can prosper even without your ticket contribution, while smaller film creators need to have a daily job just to survive (a thing I’ve read in way too many interviews, sadly).

P. S. Here’s a curious comment of Justin Benson (one of the directors) that I found under one of the reviews over the web:

…nothing against anyone who makes naval-gazing dramas (‘Before Sunrise’ is one of my favorite movies of all time), but that’s not what Resolution is or the background we come from. We set out to make a genuinely scary movie via characters that you care about, while striving for originality above all else. We wouldn’t make any film we didn’t love in every way, and we are as passionate about genre film as every other classification of cinema. That being said, what genre we’re working in specifically is not something we talk about while developing our films. Being as scary, funny, heartbreaking and unique as the overall tone of the story allows, is infinitely more important to us than how the marketing department (or at least the hope that there is one) decides what to sell it as. Sincerest thanks for reading about our movie and we really hope you check it out!’

Another great interview in Italian here.

17 thoughts on “Resolution

  1. Hmm, this sounds like a very interesting film, to say the least. I love horrormovies, and whether they have a big or small budget, I just think they are awesome. Thanks for sharing this one, will try and track this one down. Great review! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice review! I’ll have to find this. It’s neat how you see newer horror movies are almost forced to confront the stereotypes of the horror genre, maybe because the genre is naturally so archetypal, the character motifs are so ingrained in the human psyche, that it puts extra pressure on horror filmmakers to reinvent the wheel. Cabin in the woods did it so well. Another one that comes to mind is Scream. I like how Wes Craven acknowledges the redundancy of the slasher genre right at the onset with, “What’s your favorite Scary movie?” It’s like acknowledging the elephant in the room in order to get passed it. Does that make sense? Is that what’s happening with Resolution when u say it comments on the horror genre? Or does Resolution do it differently?

    Liked by 1 person

    • 🙂 good point. Well… yes and no. Movies like ‘Scream’ (and partially ‘Cabin in the Woods’) I think, were intended initially as a re-approach to horror. ‘Resolution’, from other point of view, was not born exactly like that (check again the “p.s.” section at the very end of the review for the director’s commentary). The scary part is not the only plot of the movie – if you think about most scary movies, they rarely have some story except for the main one (somebody/something is hunting for somebody). For 3/4 of the movie you are not really sure what’s going on there. While ‘Cabin’ did everything in a pretty straightforward way (still avoiding to be a parody), ‘Resolution’ is more subtle. It doesn’t jump out of the corner and shout at you – “hey guy we are deconstructing some cliched movie genres, join the party!). And ‘Resolution has a very interesting resolution (pardon). Original.

      Still, it’s actually even absolutely possible to enjoy the movie a lot without paying attention to all this (!). It’s well written, acting is superb and everything is in the right place.

      With that said, I must admit that pretty sometimes this kind of movies can be more enjoyable for me that the genres they explore, if they don’t become just a silly parody. I really loved Defendor, for example.

      I think at this point you must watch it and then tell me what you think! 🙂

      Which other movies like that you know?


  3. I like doing the IMDb rating against my own rating too 🙂
    It’s good to see if the world agrees with you and it’s great when you see one that’s got an average review and you just can’t fathom why when you enjoyed it so much. Good to see you loved this. I will keep a look out for it but I’m stuck in the 50/60/70/80’s at the moment but I do venture out at times :).. Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, it depends and there are different cases in case of low rating. Mostly there are 2 versions – the film is just not good but you enjoy it due to some reasons (that may happen) and the second is that the film delivers not what it promised or not what most public expected.

      Resolution is atypical horror movie, but since it’s still categorized as horror, many fan horrors won’t appreciate it. Hence the rating. It’s a niche movie for a pretty small audience.

      This can happen vice a versa too, take ‘Passengers’ that promised to be good sci-fi and turned out to be a cheesy melodrama.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love it when it happens. Always brings a big smile. Yeah I did hear things on Passengers which didn’t excite but you know what dude one rainy day it might be on Netflix and I’m dozing on the sofa and Ill just be happy to watch Miss Lawrence wander around on a spaceship 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I even went to the cinema to see it but it was such a big disappointment! I think if you have a box with all sci-fi movies ever made and take out one movie by chance it will surely be better than this crap.

    The same director, Morten Tyldum, did a very cool Norwegian trhiller…

    …which is rated much higher on IMDb. I watched it 2 times few years ago – thing I rarely do with thrillers…

    I just think that the studio influenced ”Passengers” too much, because Tyldum is a capable and talanted director.


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