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The Return (I) (2006)

PG-13  |   |  Mystery, Thriller  |  10 November 2006 (USA)
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Ratings: 4.8/10 from 9,852 users   Metascore: 38/100
Reviews: 124 user | 102 critic | 16 from

Joanna Mills, a traveling business woman, begins having nightmares of a murder that occurred 15 years ago. Soon she is drawn to an old farmhouse, where the murder took place.



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Complete credited cast:
Terry Stahl
Ed Mills
Griff / Young Griff
Wally Welch ...
Snack Stand Vendor
Ambrose Miller
Mr. Marlin
Bonnie Gallup ...
Robert Wilson ...


The restless sales representative of a transport company Joanna Mills travels from Saint Louis to Texas in a business trip. She is haunted by violent visions and after meeting her client, she visits her lonely father. On the next morning, she decides to visit La Salle, a small town where she has never been before, but she had recollections of many locations. She lodges in a hotel and later she meets and is befriended by the local widower Terry Stahl, who helps her from an aggression. Her daydreams and nightmares increase and she becomes obsessed for disclosing the truth about her visions of a brutal murder of a woman in a barn. Along her investigation, Joanna gets close to the killer and feels that her life is in danger. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The past never dies. It kills. See more »


Mystery | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence, terror and disturbing images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

10 November 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Revolver  »

Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$4,479,621 (USA) (10 November 2006)


$7,744,785 (USA) (8 December 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director Asif Kapadia's American debut film. See more »


When Joanna drives through the salt flat of Texas, the shot has been reversed. Most notably, Guadalupe Peak in the background is inverted. See more »


[repeated line]
Young Joanna Mills: There was a man
See more »

Crazy Credits

When the credits first start to roll, everyones name's turn and blur away to the next name which does the same. This represents the characters Joanna and Annie and how they co-existed in the same body. See more »


References The Grudge (2004) See more »


The Refuge
Written and Performed by Cory Sipper
Courtesy of Marc Ferrari / MasterSource
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Visually amazing, story falls flat
14 November 2006 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

OK. Well...The Return. Sarah Michelle Gellar's latest genre addition finds her running from a cowboy with a killer past. Asif Kapadia's sophomore effort, after 2001's The Warrior, will likely disappoint more than entertain. The story is convoluted and under developed, and aside from Gellar's Joanna, we really don't have any idea why any of the other characters are there. However, in stark comparison to the other filler thrillers we have seen for years, The Return boasts excellent camera work and even better art direction and cinematography. It is told in heavy visual style, which is a refreshing take on an old tale. Twitchy camera movement heightens the suspense and paranoia of the film while the bleak colors and atmosphere add themes of isolation and desolation. Gellar is exceptional as Joanna Mills, a successful midwesterner constantly on the road to elude some painful past, not to mention the hallucinations and creepy visions she keeps enduring. It is a solid transition from horror to... something else. And while we as an audience may not have any idea what Gellar is pulling, it's certain that she does, and is making some very interesting and risky role choices which adds to her versatility. (Keep your eyes peeled for her work in Southland Tales as a porn-star come reality-television conoisseur) I am not going to bore you with the details of the story, since every other review basically regurgitates the little material there is to work with. The plot isn't bad, it's just very minimalistic and sparse on character detail, which, for an atmosphere and mood-driven film like this one, is a fatal mistake. The suspense is good, it holds enough tension to keep you entertained enough to keep watching. The supporting cast are all pretty good, no Oscar contenders here but take it for what it is. The score is effective, using violins and chimes to purvey a sense of dread and malice. The visual style is very compelling, we feel like we're in Texas, seeing this happen through a series of well thought out, well lit shots that subtley take us deeper into Joanna's psychological state. The scene where she awakes in the field is one of the best, and proves that Kapadia's second feature may not be the greatest, but started out to be a very different, innovative project that got a little muddled in post-production. A good film, I'd wait for DVD, but the creepy soundbytes and ghostly whispers won't have the same effect as in the theatre. The Return is definitely misunderstood, but for those keen enough to see it through, you will get a glimpse of isolated, lonely people just looking to connect and get over the issues that have brought them together.

41 of 64 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Worst Movie Ever Period. Chamillitarylife
Why didn't Terry age? Ian_or_Satan
Extremely dull throughout with a who-gives-a-damn plot resolution EvilCensor
this movie rocks! elektrahand
How was the alternative ending... lucemx
Characters that go nowhere robinboone
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