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4 reviews, 8 user ratings

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Return, The (2006)
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by Doug Bentin

"There is a dullness, return, return, return."
1 stars

It’s made clear to us that the town Joanna Mills is returning to in “The Return” is a place she’s never been to before, and if that doesn’t make sense to you, welcome to the club.

The town in question is La Salle, Texas. Hell, I grew up in that part of the world and I know more about La Salle than the London-born director Asif Kapadia. Let me tell you something—in the film, Joanna (Sarah Michelle Gellar, solidifying her claim as the new millennium’s first real scream queen) comes to this place because she has had nightmares and waking hallucinations for 15 years about a stalker who says that he only wants to talk to her, all leading her to believe that something happened there that relates to her. If the movie were at all scary, the audience would be yelling at the screen “Don’t believe him!” instead of “Kill her, already, so I can go home and watch ‘C.S.I.’ reruns!”

When she arrives, she stays in a $25-a-night hotel that would give Norman Bates the gibbering whim-whams. Darlin’, there’s a nice Best Western just down the road leading to Port Lavaca.

We know that Joanna is a character in a horror movie—she’d know it, too, if she’d ever seen one. Why is it that the kids in “Scream” are the only horror movie characters who ever watch the genre? Anyway, we know that Joanna is being either haunted or possessed, but all she admits to knowing about herself is that she needs help. She doesn’t try to get any, other than showing up at her father’s house, which we assume must be somewhere near LaSalle, and asking him to fill her in on any, you know, horrifying traumas she may have suffered as an 11-year old. He (Sam Shepard) seems to know just what she’s talking about, but won’t answer any direct questions despite the fact that she has a history of violent behavior and self-mutilation. Texas dads. What can I tell you?

So Joanna toddles off to LaSalle where she runs into a fella who is a salesman for the same company she works for who tries to rape or beat her up. He doesn’t get very far along before a Mysterious Stranger starts kicking the shit out of him. Texas gallantry. What can I tell you?

Oh, Joanna’s home office is St. Louis, so why the pissed off co-worker (Adam Scott) trails her across several states is never explained. He thinks she poached one of his clients, but why the long trip before striking? Oh yeah, it’s just so Joanna and the Stranger, Terry Stahl (Peter O’Brien) can meet.

This film has a small cast so you know that Terry must play into Joanna’s problem somehow, as will the greasy jerk at the body shop. None of this is very original so I guess the suspense isn’t supposed to come in because we don’t know what is going on or who is who, despite writer Adam Sussman’s every attempt to mystify us. We jump a couple of times, but that’s due solely to the efforts of the sound editor.

Gellar is directed to be catatonic—a block of ice could give a warmer performance. O’Brien isn’t bad but I kept thinking he got the part because of a passing resemblance to Hugh Jackman.

It’s all pretty lame and has the earmarks of having been written and directed by a pair of guys who think that by making a scary flick they can get their feet in the Hollywood door. Guys, that only works if the scary flick is, you know, scary.

Horror movie same-old same-old. What can I tell you?

The film is rated PG-13 for violence, terror and disturbing images. I missed the terror. Must have been when I glanced down at my watch.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15274&reviewer=405
originally posted: 11/22/06 11:06:46
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User Comments

12/04/08 Shaun Wallner Very Boring! 1 stars
3/05/07 Vinnie waiting........waiting........... 1 stars
1/10/07 Pete I actually enjoyed it so ha ha! deal with it :P 4 stars
12/12/06 William Goss Tremendously dull and thoroughly deprived of suspense in any form. 1 stars
11/26/06 sirina it was pretty good i guess 3 stars
11/13/06 Jamethon A friend recommended this to me as being "Silent Hill" (the game)-esque. He's dead now. 1 stars
11/13/06 Evan What the hell did I just spend my money on? 1 stars
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  10-Nov-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 27-Feb-2007



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