Directed by Justin Benson & Aaron Scott Moorhead
93 mins. Color
Resolution is a clever, subtle, and extremely well made horror film that I can’t recommend enough. While often compared to Cabin in the Woods because of it’s similar “genre bending”, this film takes it’s time and slowly crawls under your skin.
Resolution is about two best friends, Michael and Chris. Chris is a junkie crackhead and Michael is a professional and expectant father. One day Michael receives an email from Chris with a video of him getting really fucking high on crack and shooting things in the woods. Michael decides to go up to the dilapidated house that Chris is staying in and try to get him to go to rehab. Well his attempt is unsuccessful so he does what any friend would do and handcuffs his crack smoking buddy to a pipe and tells him he’s stuck for the next week while goes cold turkey. GREAT plan. Michael and Chris sit and talk about life, jobs, babies, and crack. After a day or two Michael starts finding these stories and thats when the film starts getting really creepy. It first starts with a box of pictures that seemingly tell a story that ends with the main character dying horribly. Then he finds a record with another ill-fated ending which leads to more stories on slides, VHSs, and even reel to reel films. As time goes by and Chris slowly detoxes, Michael becomes obsessed with these stories he’s finding and wonders who is leaving these morbid tales and why does he feel like he’s being watched all the time.
Writer, producer, co-director Justin Benson masterfully juggles the sad story of the two friends and the detox with the horror story of these deadly tales. The detox story is very well put together and while it’s maybe the worst idea in the world for someone to chain another up to get them to quit smoking crack, it somehow still works. The two men actually feel like real friends and their conversations don’t feel forced. I also loved the fact that Benson didn’t give Chris a sad, forced reason as to why he smokes crack like almost every film or television show feels like it must. Usually it’s something like abuse, or financial problems, or emotional problems but here Chris smokes crack because he can. He explains that he just loves it and that’s all the reason he needs. None of the unnecessary reasonings as to why someone would want to smoke crack. He just wants to and that reason is far more believable to me.
I was amazed at how subtle the horror aspect of the film was. Little by little, the film got creepier and creepier. While Chris is locked in the ramshackle house all day, Michael goes on walks and into town and everyone he interacts with is strange and carries a sense of danger with their presence. It really just adds to the experience. I have a feeling that some people might not like the ending but without any spoilers, I thought it worked great and made the film that much more memorable.
Independently produced, cleverly plotted, and subtly terrifying, this film knocked me off my feet. I gambled on a random Netflix film and boy did I feel like I won. Directors Justin Benson and Aaron Scott Moorhead will be directing a segment in the upcoming VHS sequel, VHS: VIRAL and I can’t wait to see what they’ll do with that. Hopefully, they can hold on to the magic that they had while making this little, fantastic film.