21 June 2013

RESOLUTION (Dir. Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead, 2012, US) - Indie Folk Horror


Resolution is an esoteric genre piece that deploys folk horror idioms in a buddy narrative about two guys in their thirties who seem similarly adrift in their lives. Perhaps it’s a little unconventional to label Resolution as a buddy film but the affectionate interplay between the two male friends smacks of a twisted bromance commonly found in the films of Howard Hawks. The plot, involving drug addiction, rehab and friendship, is saliently linear and directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead draw on a rich plethora of horror films, including The Blair Witch Project, to manifest an atmosphere of clawing dread. The unexplained phenomena that takes place in a derelict house on an old Indian reservation recalls Spielberg’s The Poltergeist and extrapolates a vein of ancient folk mythology rooted in a historical past that is respectively alien to the two men. Clues left in the house intensify and while mainstream big budget horror would call for some kind of rational explanation, the indie institutional context permits the directors to boldly reject such genre/narrative demands and foreground an uncertainty that reaches its eerily audacious climax at the end. What makes Resolution the antithesis of many contemporary horror films is in the way much of the narrative centres on extended dialogue sequences between the two friends, invoking a Taratinoesque charm for the spoken word that still permeates American indie cinema. Much of the film's power comes through a genuinely frightening denouement wholly embracing the most primitive and potent of horror iconography.

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