The Return (2006) Poster

(I) (2006)

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7/10
Underrated Supernatural Thriller
Claudio Carvalho13 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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7/10
This Spirit Moved Me.......
rbrb11 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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8/10
Atmosphere and character
Bmovie10 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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8/10
It's Suspense Not Horror!
sonicfloodandavalon21712 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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6/10
Visually amazing, story falls flat
csnl_2014 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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3/10
Unfortunately it is deserving of its rating...terrible
sweetdreamer51219 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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8/10
Very Well Done!!
metallica141726 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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10/10
Korean cinema feel with redneck creepiness
pmq140431 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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7/10
Pretty good
nikhilvarma892 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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1/10
A bore from start to finish
David O'Brien22 February 2007
Warning: 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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9/10
very intelligent well written suspense thriller
disdressed1215 July 2007
i'm really surprised by the low rating this movie currently has(4.8/10).i really liked it.that's saying a lot because i generally don't like Sarah Michelle Gellar.however,i didn't mind her in this movie.this movie kept me at unease throughout,not knowing what might happen next.the movie is filled with an air of dread.i also liked the look of the movie.very dark and atmospheric with muted colours.i found that very effective.the story itself is unique and is not predictable.i thought i had it figured out a few times,only to find out i was wrong.near the end,i came close to figuring it out,but it turned out i wasn't quite right.any movie that can keep you guessing to the end is doing something right,in my mind.there is lots of suspense in this movie,but no gore,which is very refreshing.this is one of the better suspense/thriller movies i have seen in a long time.i had low expectation going into this movie,and those expectation were shattered.if you're looking for a suspense movie with clever writing and good characters,check this movie out.for me,"The Return" is a 9/10
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6/10
way better than expected
wolverinejmc11 November 2006
I just got back from The Return and loved it. It certainly wasn't amazing, but it was a huge cut above other movies like it. I went into this expecting a movie like Dark Water. More of a drama than anything scary. I was wrong. Return had a whole lot more scares than Dark Water, but had a story to back it up, not to say Dark Water didn't have any. Sarah's acting was a whole lot better than her other movies, which added to the scares. It was a bit confusing at times but the ending brought it all together. the scares were mostly jump moments, but the atmosphere and cinematography added on to them.Go and see this movie, but don't expect stupid scares like the Grudge 2, and enjoy the ride. The return was a well acted, slow moving yet wonderfully intense thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time.
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6/10
The Return...yeah.
tinkloner14 November 2006
That rating is me being nice. This movie wouldn't be missed if it was never made. There were no scary parts, not that the movie was supposed to scare you, but it would have given it some edge. It's about a little girl who is always seeing a man and grows up still seeing the man and everyone thinks she's crazy. That's a summary without spoilers believe me. Sarah does a pretty good job at acting her part but she's starting to waste time making these types of films. I enjoyed it even though I knew who so and so was and what the conclusion of the movie was because it was that simple. Have fun and see the movie, but don't expect something miraculous...believe me. Me being a fan of the reason behind the whole movie took the story line into consideration and thought that that part was okay...it just takes so long to get to the point. Blah Blah Blah...it just went on like I'm doing. It could have been thirty minutes and we would have gotten the movie. But don't listen to my opinion, go check it out yourself. Blah!
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8/10
A very fun movie, regardless of it's problems
Dragoneyed36328 March 2008
I am a sucker for Sarah Michelle Gellar. I quite simply love her and will watch anything she is in. To this day even, I have not hated a movie she has starred in, and maybe it is that her presence just lights up the movie for me or she makes the movie more tolerable and fun with her performance, but either way, almost all her films her great and The Return is another example of how suspenseful and enjoyable she can make a film, or a film's plot. It is even a perfectly fine movie without her, though I'll admit it has it's faults.

From what I heard of The Return from one of my friends when I let him borrow it, I was terribly disappointed, because he thought The Return was mediocre at best. The Return was not that bad at all, and though it has it's problems, oh how it has it's problems, that does not mean it was failing to be extremely entertaining and an enjoyable experience overall. To hear that it was bad with critics, has a low rating, and was cluttered with negative-mixed reviews, I frowned immensely. The Return is a great movie despite what anyone says about it.

Sarah Michelle Gellar is a fabulous actress, as I have said, and when I first saw this movie on the rack I decided to give it a shot because it looked interesting. After I watched it I was left battered at what I thought of it. I did not really know the first time around if I even liked it or not, because I had either not been in the right mood, or was just tired or something. I watched it again and it took me awhile to finally decide on what I thought of this movie, but when I did know what I thought I gave it the rating I gave it, because this movie deserves a rating from someone that high for being so thrilling and entertaining. Maybe other people need to watch it more than once to fully appreciate it for what it is, because I have watched it somewhere around five times now and I enjoy it every time.

Yes, this movie has a few boring parts and some material just does not click, but it's most enjoyable aspect was certainly that it had a nice and creepy atmosphere and I definitely thought it delivered in almost everything a horror/thriller needs to be a successful feature, except it lacks some real brains at times. I especially loved how they used the Patsy Cline song for whenever danger was near, for that was really cool. I enjoy the story itself as well, though only Ms. Gellar could have pulled off the part, and though the killer is really quite annoying, senseless and laughable at times, as is the movie, like I said, it is fun and it never stops entertaining with it's performances, atmosphere and story twists. I don't care what anyone else says about it, because I'll always know it is a wonderful flick and that everyone who thinks it is flat out and just plain horrible does not know what a good movie is.
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3/10
A slow moving supernatural drama that fails to generate any interest or emotion
christian1236 June 2007
Joanna Mills is a tough young Midwesterner determined to learn the truth behind the increasingly terrifying supernatural visions that have been haunting her.

The Return offers a decent storyline that's bogged down by tedious pacing and stiff performances. It's disappointing that the studio decided to market this film as a horror movie since it was really a drama with a supernatural hook to it. The first hour is so hard to sit through because the director moved everything at such a crawling pace. It might just be me but listening to the same clues and watching the same flashbacks over and over again does get pretty annoying. The story is literally at a standstill until the one hour mark.

When the plot finally reaches its boiling point, it does so far past the point of audience involvement or genuine concern. The characters were not engaging enough for me to care about them and absolutely nothing happened in the first hour so there was very little to actually be interested in. When things start to pick up, the suspense is pretty low and the ending wasn't really that great. It was something a little different compared to most films that come out these days but it still wasn't good enough to compensate for everything the audience had to sit through.

Sarah Michelle Gellar was so wooden and uninteresting. She moved at such a slow pace and all of her actions were done very slowly to my annoyance. She gave her lines without emotion and she just looked bored throughout the entire thing. J.C. MacKenzie gave the best performance out of everyone although that's not much of a compliment. He had a few effective scenes as the twisted psycho. Peter O'Brien was just as emotionless as Sarah and it was very yawn inducing to watch them on screen together. Overall, The Return is a tough film to sit through mainly because it's so dull. I only recommend checking it out if you're a big fan of Sarah Michelle Gellar otherwise just skip it. Rating 3/10
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1/10
Amazed at the posted reviews
kitano026 October 2009
I just saw this movie yesterday...I cannot believe the reviews on this site. The ones that give it over one-star must be Buffy fanatics. Well, I am a Buffy fan of the first order, but I know crap when I see it. On every level, this film is terrible. Technically, much of the time you don't know where you are in this movie, even within one scene, it jumps POV like crazy for no reason. No logic whatsoever in cinematic terms. Emotionally is bleak for bleak's sake and attempts to be a psychological thriller when it is just confusing. Throwing nasty-looking red-necks in your movie is a cheap way to convey "atmosphere". I ran out of patience with it a long time before the last act, but I was having too much fun with my friends doing MST3K riffs to turn it off. Since leaving Buffy, SMG has had 2 successful movies, if even listing "Scooby Doo" on your resume could count. Gellar is a fine actress, but she (or her agent) sure can't find a vehicle for her. And Mr. Shepard, if you are having trouble paying your mortgage, I'll send you a few bucks if you promise to not appear in a movie like this again! ( Also, the estate of Patsy Cline should sue for defamation! )
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4/10
Very Weird, Unscary, Confusing Movie
Horror_Fan0124 February 2007
OK i will admit, it started out very pleasing and good, but then it just dropped downhill, i cannot believe Sarah Michelle Gellar could have even finished reading the script after about 5 minutes into the movie, the only reason i actually sat through the whole movie, was i wanted to see the twist at the ned, and to my surprise, well, folks i cannot even tell you if there ven was one, because the end just leaves you confused, and then the credit role, i was like what the hell? this did not deserve a theater run, i am sorry, but it didn't i mean it was horrible, the only reaso i gave it a 4 is because it had a few jumpy parts...thats it! you can watch it, im not telling you not to, hey you might even like it or even love it! but if you hate it, don't say i didn't warn you!
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5/10
Meh. Meh. Meh.
opieandy-119 January 2016
That's right, the prestigious THREE mehs for this uninspired flick.

I kept thinking it was going somewhere, then found my mind wandering. Rewound and found I hadn't missed anything.

Plot: had potential, unfulfilled Acting: uninspired Mood: sleepy Snacks: get plenty

Three more mehs to fulfill the obligatory 10 lines of text. Wait, here comes my scale.

My scale:

1-5 decreasing degrees of "terrible", with 5 being "mediocre"

6- OK. Generally held my interest OR had reasonable cast and/or cinematography, might watch it again

7 - Good. My default rating for a movie I liked enough to watch again, but didn't rise to the upper echelons

8- Very Good. Would watch again and recommend to others

9- Outstanding. Would watch over and over; top 10% of my ratings

10 - A Classic (6 of 430 movies have received this)
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4/10
Will Definitely Not Be Returning To Watch This Borefest
David Arnold19 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Since the age of 11, Joanna Mills has been having strange visions but doesn't know the reason why. When her latest business trip takes her to Texas, she decides to visit her dad and also a small town called La Salle that's been in her visions. It's here she also meets Terry, a seemingly troubled individual that has been alienated by the towns residents. Joanna's visions continue, but they start to become more vivid and the more she sees, the more she starts to understand what is going on and not all secrets remain unknown.

The Return is one of those films where the ending saves it from completely bombing, reason being is because the 70 minutes preceding the end scenes are so slow they make watching cricket seem exciting. Don't get me wrong...the story itself is actually pretty good (even if it's not that original) and I don't usually mind a slower-paced film, but the execution is what let's it down for me. You actually sit there hoping the ending saves the film, and it does. Just.

It's also a pretty complex story and is one that you most definitely have to pay attention to right from the very start. If you don't then you will have no hope of understanding it. One other thing...if you're expecting some kind of creepy, scary horror then you'll need to keep looking as this most definitely isn't one of those films. There is some decent suspense to it - eventually - but overall it's hardly a gripping tale and it most definitely is NOT a horror film.

The acting is also pretty wooden throughout, and I really do think that Sarah Michelle Gellar is completely overrated, especially in this role, because she just seems to wander through it aimlessly with the odd few "scream queen" moments. I really can't understand some of the rave reviews that The Return has been given by some people as it really is just - apart from the last 10 minutes or so - a bit of a snore-fest.

It's definitely not the best and you're not missing that much if you choose not to see it.
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1/10
Return ... to Sender!
Coventry14 April 2007
How on earth is it possible that, in this modern day & age of progressive cinema and amazing visual techniques, such redundant and out-of-date films like "The Return" still manage to find their way to theater distribution? I can't even decide what to hate most about this film, as the list of inept & pitiable aspects is almost too long to choose from. Sarah Michelle Gellar's embarrassing attempt to come across as a real actress? The total lack of logic and continuity? Or simply the fact it's an unendurably boring & soporific film that doesn't feature a single moment of action or tension? But most likely I hate it because director Asif Kapadia and writer Adam Sussman haven't even got an actual story to tell and simply attempt to tie together the loose ends of something that vaguely resembles a supernatural thriller/ghosts-from-the-past melodrama. I watched this dull turkey at the Belgian Festival of Horror & Fantasy Films and the spontaneous reactions of the audience didn't lie. "The Return" honestly deserved all the BOOH's and BOOOOOOORING's that were disrespectfully yelled at the screen. They want us to believe Gellar is a successful young saleswoman on her way to close up a million Dollar deal in the Texan area where she grew up. The poor woman is haunted by visions of a murder that occurred in the area almost 15 years ago and, even though she doesn't recognize the man in her dreams, she feels connected to him and carefully seeks contact. A whole lot of boredom and pointless sub plot later, there's the climax that doesn't make the slightest bit of sense and won't shock or surprise even the smallest child. I tremendously disliked the recent mystery-thriller "The Messengers" because it shamelessly presented an endless number false frights and clichés, but that film is honestly a masterpiece compared to "The Return", as the latter features nothing! Not even a single slamming door or random ghostly appearance in a mirror. The plot is often more incoherent than the ones of low-budget B-movies of the 70's, as some supportive characters inexplicably disappear and others abruptly enter the scene without being introduced. Sam Shepard, the only decent player in the entire film, is dreadfully underused while the awful TV-actor Peter O'Brien gives away a terrible performance. Roman Osnin provides the film with a handful of beautifully shot images that actually deserved to be in a better film. Some people claimed that "The Return" turned out a lot better because they didn't expect to see a horror film. Well, I think that no matter what genre you're expecting to see, it'll always remain a dire film.
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7/10
a return to intelligent genre fare
rivertam2610 November 2006
I remember seeing the trailer for The Return a few mos. ago. I remember feeling intrigued but a little underwhelmed. I thought any movie is worth a look with lovely Sarah Michelle Gellar in the lead. I've always loved SGM in her Buffy hey day. But as it got closer and closer to its switchy release date buzz dropped, there were no advance screenings and a PG-13 rating. All pretty much signaling a crapfest. Momentum especially dropped after the release one of the worst films ever made The Grudge 2 after bad publicity like that I'm not sure I would've really tried to push this film either. But after seeing it this evening I'm happy to say it deserves to be seen, but not by all. Let's face it SMG is great but her movie choices haven't been so worthy she showed off her acting chops in her multi-emmy nominated Buffy role, hence her following. But I will say that this is first real movie, that demanded a real performance and she delivers. The Return is no standard hodge podge of cheap scare tactics and a translucent plot grabbings. It is instead a multi layered psychological thriller with elements of the supernatural and the macabre. Gellar stars in beautiful dark brown hair as Joanna Mills a tough young business woman who returns home to Texas for a business deal. While she is there she's haunted by strange visions and even stranger mishaps. She is seemingly being stalked by a homicidal maniac and is reliving the murder of a woman that looks frightfully like her. All of the twists culminate to an unexpected and shocking finale worthy of attention. But stupid people looking for cheap thrills do need not apply. The Return earns its scares courtesy of its director Asif Kapadia director of the award winning film The Warrior. This is a thinking persons movie. You must piece the plot together while enduring some delightfully creepy setpieces and some experimentally satisfying cinematography. But the real fun is talking about the movie after its over. Because all though seemingly figured out it leaves a lot to your imagination. You become immersed in the films subtext of loneliness and despair. The yearning for a connection to someone or some place that could complete you as a person. The return offers such insight if your willing to look. SMG's character Joanna Mills is lonely, confused but strong willed and confident. Many of us can identify with her. The director aims to tell a story about the wrongful murder of a woman , yes, but also about a young woman struggling to find herself in this world, her purpose, all set against the backdrop of the seemingly whole hearted midwest. The film is drab looking rightfully so and is brutally serious any humor left within is purely coincidental. The fact that SMG would choose a film like this is a clear sign that she means business. She wants to be recognized for her talent and doesn't just want to be a genre staple. The film is filled with delicately subtle and effective performances most notably by Sam Shepard. And all though the film is creatively executed it's not flawless in the end it either needed to be shorter or longer. A longer cut may have given us a bit more insight into the characters and the directors emotional landscape a shorter cut would have made for a fine and exceptional episode of masters of horror or some other genre show. But don't pass this one up if your looking for something different, something smart. The Return is a return to intelligent genre film making.
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4/10
Nothing original - see something else this weekend
Neenee-b20 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I think that the makers of it would like it to be described as a Supernatural Horror and it was rated 15 in our cinema.

Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as Joanna a women in her mid 20's that keeps on hearing and seeing a man in visions. She is compelled to go to La Salle in Texas to get to the bottom of the mystery.

After quickly visiting her best friend and her father, both of whom don't seem to notice or care that she takes of for at least a week without contacting either of them she arrives in LaSalle and meets this guy, who looked as though he was trying to hard at a Sawyer impression from Lost. The guy was a character who was so uninteresting that i cant remember his name.....

In the end Joanna and "Sawyer" had a connection with each other in their pasts and once they had solved a grisly murder the visions disappeared and they drove off out of Texas in the guys old banger.

I would find it hard to say i liked the film never mind recommending it to anybody else. The film is nothing we haven't seen before. There were a few cheap scares, but i think that complete silence followed by a loud bang of scream is bound to make anybody jump and just isn't scary.

Sarah Michelle Gellar has matured from the blond haired Barbie who gets slashed to bits in high school horror movies to a brown haired women who survives in horror movies. Also with Sarah Michelle Gellar i find it hard to like any character she plays as they all seem so self involved and whiney - Buffy (ok that girl had problems i know but still), Daphne (scooby doo, need i say more) Karen from the Grudge (just boring!) Overall i would not recommend The Return to anybody as it is unoriginal and honestly uninteresting. The last 15mins was good as it was coming to the climax of the film but the run up to it was long, boring and confusing, i just didn't really get what i was watching. Overall i would give it a 4/10. Its a film to look out for on TV in a few years time.

If you really want to see a recent horror film go rent The Ring (ok its a few years old) and if you really need to see a Sarah Michelle Gellar film rent The Grudge (the character SMG plays is uninteresting it has a few good scares!)
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3/10
The Return should have stayed away.
stokealty18 January 2007
Watching this film with a load of avid cinema fans we all came out absolutely disappointed.

Michelle geller plays a woman who has nightmares about a murder that took place fifteen years before. The time cutting from one dimension to another places too much work on the audience to work out exactly what is going on, leading to a plot that isn't thought through well, whilst the acting is poor and the script even poorer.

The supernatural film doesn't live up to expectations, the only positive part of the film is its length (85 mins). Even this was excruciating due to the dire state of the film. Yet another contestant for the worst film of the year.
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2/10
Even worse than you would expect
oshram-313 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Moviegoers are basically stupid. We fork over hard-earned (well, in some cases) cash for 90 to 120 minutes of theoretical enjoyment. So far so good, and we as a public are willing to buy into the idea that our six bucks entitle us to an hour-and-a-half of escapism. The problem is that going to see a movie is a crapshoot under the best of circumstances, and, well, in the worst case, it can be the grounds for a class-action lawsuit against the studio for a severe case of libel, i.e. they promised us this would be interesting, shocking, fun, etc.

None of which The Return is. And, honestly, I knew it was going to be weak when I saw the trailer. It looked like a retread of The Grudge, another Sarah Michelle Gellar joint (also a fairly craptacular movie but at least that took place in Japan), and, yes, I went to see the movie for the girl. So color me double stupid for expecting anything else. I pretty much figured I would sit through a tepid remake of a tepid remake, I was prepared for that.

But I was not prepared for the mind-numbing banality that is The Return. Gellar plays Joanna Mills, a woman so devoid of a personality or any human characteristics it's extremely hard to be interested in her, let alone care about her. Joanna is apparently seeing things (dead people, a possible killer, a mysterious tavern) and these visions lead her to some nowhere town in Texas where everything is a pasty brown and everyone acts strangely, and they ALL act as if they know something we don't, which of course they do, because we are never told what in the hell is going on.

I mean it. I literally had no idea what in the hell was going on through the first two-thirds of this movie. Joanna goes through the motions of tracking down what's going on in her visions, but she picks up clues because she needs to, not because it makes any sense that she does. The movie does eventually disclose what happened, but much like an Agatha Christie novel, there's no damn way you could have figured it out and even when you are told, it isn't very satisfying. And then we are only given Joanna's possible connection to the main story in a teaser at the end of the film, by which point we don't care what half-assed plot twists might be in store, we just want to get the hell out of there as quickly as we can.

It isn't a horror film, as the trailer promises. If only it were a retread of The Grudge, that might have merely been bad. But The Return takes boring to a whole new level. Watching Gellar play a character a good 50 IQ points lower than she is was painful, and I wondered over and over what the hell she could have been thinking in taking this role (can she really need the money that bad?). Maybe it's because I've seen her be so good in just about everything else she's done (even the later embarrassing seasons of Buffy come off like Shakespeare next to this leaden claptrap), but this is the kind of film you only do for love, money, exposure, or because you lost a bet. So I hereby pardon everyone else in the film (an impressively uncharismatic bunch of unknowns and unrecognizables, except for the one actor who had a recurring role on Dark Angel, and that tells you a lot about the average talent level Sarah ended up working with here) as, hell, a break is a break. But I can't fathom what in the hell Sarah was thinking in accepting a script this tepid.

I've beaten this dead horse enough. This is the worst film I've seen this year, and I've seen Ultraviolet. If that isn't enough to scare you away from this movie, then you must have as little common sense as the characters in the film itself. I'll put it more clearly than the movie could: DON'T GO.
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9/10
Very good despite very few frills
sunkist147416 November 2006
I have always been a die-hard horror fan, but lately I've been getting frustrated. Almost every new movie is the same: if it's not the raven-haired ghost, then it's the over-the-top slaughter fest. Now, I like gore, and I like Asian horror, but I also like seeing something new. And I felt like The Return was that something.

The Return has practically no gore. It doesn't have an evil ghost or creepy kids. It doesn't have endless plot twists. It doesn't have a lot of effects. But it certainly didn't need any of that stuff to be one of the most unsettling movies I've seen in a while. I'd forgotten what it's like to be scared at the movies! It was very intense at moments, and really kept me on edge. Yes, the scares are simple, but they are undeniably effective. I had chills almost the entire time, and jumped repeatedly. Despite being a very creepy, very chilling movie, it can best be described as a horror-love story, like a Lakehouse for horror fans; the ending was even pretty affecting!

It might not be the kind of movie it's advertised to be, but the Return is definitely worth seeing.
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