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The Return
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Return More at IMDbPro »

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74 out of 115 people found the following review useful:

Atmosphere and character

8/10
Author: Bmovie from Texas, USA
10 November 2006

There are attractions to this film. One, it proceeds at its own pace specific to the revelations the main character achieves. Some would say it moves too slowly but, I think, this is only in contrast to recent genre films that rush to exploit thrills, sometimes fun, sometimes silly. The pace is more like that of classic mystery movies with a little film noir mixed in.

The atmosphere is somewhat reminiscent of recent Japanese horror films and remakes though the narrative is much more structured. This is emphasized by the "washed out" look of the photography even in direct sunlight. Of course, parts of Texas where much of this was shot appear a little washed out in reality. While this is not especially flattering to the actors, it underscores the uncertainty the characters must endure. (Congratulations to Ms. Gellar for acceding to this when most actresses are looking for every cinematographic advantage they can get!)

The film is more about character and the discovery of destiny than about complex plot or even surprises. As in many Hitchcock movies, the audience is supposed to know more about some things than the characters. Most horror and mystery fans will have a pretty good inkling of the answer the heroine is seeking well before all the loose ends are tied up. (As the "Robot Chicken" version of M. Night Shyamalan might say, "What a twist!")

Ms. Gellar must portray a repressed young woman suffering from more than one trauma from the past. She conveys effectively that her character is confused, haunted, resolute, scared, brave and smart enough to make her way in a good ole boy business world. She cannot accept help even from the few who are closest to her. Her premonitions (memories?) lead her to out of the way places and a man with a past as tormented as her own. There is solid support from the reliable Sam Shepard and from J.C. MacKenzie in a performance that is quite a departure from his usual roles.

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71 out of 114 people found the following review useful:

It's Suspense Not Horror!

8/10
Author: sonicfloodandavalon217 from United States
12 November 2006

Read the above title. The thing you need to realize is when you go into the movie is that it is a suspense thriller, not a horror film like Saw or The Grudge. I know this because I went with my best friend to see the film and he hates horror films, but he loved this movie as did I...You need to go into the movie with some things in mind. One, it is a low budget film, it's released through Rogue Pictures, from what I have heard, it is an indie film and therefore its not going to be on the same par as some of the other films that are out there today. Two, think more along the lines of "What Lies Beneath" and not along the lines of "The Grudge". I thought it was very creative, the way it was filmed and the way the story panned out. You may not figure everything out until the last 15 minutes of the movie, but I am sorry, I actually enjoy movies like that and not ones that are going to give everything away to you in the first ten minutes of the movie. Sarah Michelle Gellar does an excellent job in this film. I think it's just good all around. It's a good film to see if you want to be in suspense, but not be grossed out like Saw does.

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40 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

Underrated Supernatural Thriller

7/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
13 September 2007

The restless sales representative of a transport company Joanna Mills (Sarah Michelle Gellar) 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 (Peter O'Brien), 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.

I bought this DVD first because I am a huge fan of Sarah Michelle Gellar, the eternal Buffy, and also because I like supernatural stories. Fortunately I have disregarded the low IMDb User Rating since this film is an underrated supernatural thriller. The plot explores the concept of reincarnation in an adequate pace, unraveling the mystery in the last scenes. The direction is sharp and Sarah gives credibility to her character. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "O Retorno" ("The Return")

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38 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

Visually amazing, story falls flat

6/10
Author: csnl_20 from Canada
14 November 2006

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.

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44 out of 73 people found the following review useful:

Very Well Done!!

8/10
Author: metallica1417 from Australia
26 February 2007

I saw this film last night not knowing what to expect. What I found was something excellent. Now this movie does require a few things before watching however; an IQ over 50, bit of patience, and the knowledge that gore and cheap thrills don't always mean a good film.

The film was shot beautifully and the acting was really well done! However my only issue was that at times the film does drag and that's where patience is required because it is worth it in the end.

For those looking for a film full of cheap thrills, excessive gore and no plot or decent acting in sight then this is NOT the film for you. However if you're after a solid Drama/Thriller with a supernatural element then definitely check this film out.

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17 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

This Spirit Moved Me.......

7/10
Author: rbrb
11 July 2008

This is an intelligent, intense and dark spiritual movie which I certainly enjoyed. A superior production and direction and in my opinion appears to be well under rated by the voters of IMDb.

A young woman is tormented by her past and "returns" to her home to discover, if she can, the reasons for her haunting recollections and the questions raised include: is she mad? Or is her past or another's' being relived through her memories? The film is appropriately made in sombre autumnal colors in keeping with the ambiance of the story,and is an adult drama.

I was impressed with all the actors especially the attractive lead female who is charismatic, convincing and highly watchable.

Well done the film-makers, a sound, 7/10.

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37 out of 63 people found the following review useful:

Korean cinema feel with redneck creepiness

10/10
Author: pmq1404 from United Kingdom
31 January 2007

The Return is an effectively suspenseful psychological thriller and not the standard type of horror movie that the trailer implies. It has the feel of Korean cinema with redneck overtones, which add to the overall vibe. Many reviews have complained that there are'nt any jump scares and the story evolves slowly, but that makes the uneasiness all the more effective. Please don't let the misleading trailer cloud your judgement. Immerse yourself in the story and you'll appreciate this film. The cast do a great job, especially Sarah Michelle Gellar who, as always gives a believability to the character of Joanna and creates a vulnerable person that can be easily empathised with. A movie that should be seen more than once and that, in time, will be given the accolades that it deserves.

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16 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

A bore from start to finish

1/10
Author: David O'Brien from Ireland
22 February 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am amazed with some of the reviews of this film. The only place that seems to tell the truth is RottenTomatoes.com. This film is awful. The plot is extremely lazy. It is not scary either. People out there who think that because it stars Sarah Michelle Geller it is somehow like The Grudge should forget about it. This film is more like Dark Water, except it is even more predictable and slow moving than it. I was extremely disappointed with this film. It didn't scare me nor interest me either. Let's face it , this type of plot has been flogged to death at this stage e.g. the dead trying to contact the living - Dragonfly, What Lies Beneath, Ghost Story, Dark Water, Darkness, The Changeling etc.etc. It seems to me that the only ones writing original horror films nowadays are the Japanese and the Koreans. The films that are coming out of Hollywood, like this, are cynical exercises in money making without a shred of respect for the viewer. They're just being churned out

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72 out of 138 people found the following review useful:

Pretty good

7/10
Author: (nikhilvarma89@gmail.com) from India
2 November 2006

I got to see the advance screening of this movie too, way in advance though it wasn't a star studded screening.

About the movie, one thing must be said is that this movie is really interesting and mysterious though it cannot be compared to other movies like saw, mindhunters as this movie does not have gore at all.

It can be compared to the butterfly effect as it has that supernatural kind of story which is very well written and i will go on to say that to me this was better than the butterfly effect. Most importantly the acting is top of the line from all the actors specially Sarah's. The way this movie is directed is also very intriguing and i really have to admire Asif's direction.

Well if you want to watch an amazing, interesting and kind of a thriller movie you must watch this as it is certainly worth a watch.

7/10

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Unfortunately it is deserving of its rating...terrible

3/10
Author: sweetdreamer512 from United Kingdom
19 November 2009

I had high hopes for this film. Not particularly a big fan of Sarah Michelle Gellar but she isn't a bad actress by any means and provided my teen years with countless horror movies I enjoyed.

That unfortunately is where the connection stops. I am not even sure this title should fall in the horror section, which is where I found it placed in my local blockbuster.

The film starts off well, keeps you guessing and involved. However as it goes on I find I am constantly looking at my DVD timer thinking,...hmmm we are 45 mins in and nothing substantial has happened yet.

This is indeed one of those films you'll get bored and itchy and glance at the back of the DVD case to see the runtime minutes. Up until the end I kept looking at these runtime minutes at the back assuming it must be wrong,..nothing has happened.

Unfortunately it wasn't wrong. It was another movie where the credits seem to pop up at the most inappropriate times claiming the film/script is finished.

No its not,...and thats why it doesn't deserve anymore than a 3 rating.

And the film and story (if you can call it that), is very confusing and unrealistic. I'd think its fair to say this film never intended to be realistic but the parallels between the dimensions of reality and fiction are just too blurred and silly. Watch "the jacket" for a much much better demonstration of where this practice truly works.

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