A chance encounter forces a woman to confront a dark period from her youth

Film | Jorge Ignacio Castillo | July 28, 2022

VOD, Opens Aug. 5
3.5 out of 5

I can’t blame you if you approach the idea of a Rebecca Hall horror movie with trepidation. Her last one, The Night House (2020), was an architectural bore. Her screen persona — a straight-laced feminist who plays by the rules — isn’t exactly a draw either. Yet everything comes together in Resurrection, a disturbing tale of grooming and lasting trauma.

We meet Hall’s character, Margaret, as she’s lecturing an employee about staying in a toxic relationship. She would know: as an 18 year-old, she got involved with David (Tim Roth), an older man who groomed her to the point of absolute servitude. It took major trauma to snap her out of it.

But Margaret never actually dealt with that trauma — just buried it under work, casual sex, and furious jogging. The only indication that not everything is right is her overprotective behaviour towards her daughter, who is days away from turning 18, and itching to get out from under her mother’s wing.

It all comes crashing down the moment Margaret glimpses her former tormentor at a conference. Not only does she suffer a long overdue emotional breakdown, she comes to the realization her abuser still has sway over her.

There’s a major plot point I’m trying to avoid because it turbo charges the horror times ten. While the film, which was written and directed by Andrew Semans, doesn’t avoid unpleasant imagery (in fact, it excels at it), the hardest part to stomach is a monologue by Margaret that would put Hall in the Oscar race if the Academy Awards weren’t so snobby towards genre flicks.

Resurrection does a superb job depicting predatory behaviour and the brainwashing of an otherwise rational person. Tim Roth has played his share of villains, from Abomination in The Incredible Hulk to Governor George Wallace in Selma, but his portrait of a textbook abuser is really disturbing.

As is becoming increasingly normal in the horror genre (see Men, Nope, Malignant), Resurrection’s ending is absolutely bonkers. But there’s a certain logic to it. Unlike so many #metoo-inspired films, this one actually delivers.