Resolution is an awkward movie to review given that many of the things that make it stand out from the indie horror herd should be left to the viewer to discover and not tossed off irresponsibly as spoilers in a review. The movie follows the story of two best friends one of whom is married with a baby on the way the other a drug addicted loser who has lost most of his friends as a result of various betrayals and misdemeanours. The latter has taken up residence in an old deserted cabin on an Indian reservation. The former joins him there after he receives a mysterious video via email that he perceives to be a cry for help. Once he arrives at the cabin he handcuffs his friend to a pipe and forces him to go cold turkey.
As the week progresses and Chris (Vinny Curran) struggles with methamphetamine withdrawal Peter (Michael Danube) discovers a variety of fragments of a story related via various different mediums; a book; some photographs; an old film reel, a video tape etc. The central mystery of the movie revolves around where these artefacts come from, who left them and how, if at all, they relate to Chris and Peter and their on-going story. As the movie progresses the content of these mysterious fragments becomes increasingly alarming and the two friends find that control of their destiny is becoming ever more fluid and difficult to grasp.
Various secondary characters are woven into the story in often random fashion; a couple of Chris’ drug dealer acquaintances; the Native Americans who own the cabin; a French archaeologist played by growing indie horror legend Bill Oberst Jr who lives alone in a trailer in the middle of nowhere. Some of these characters have no real impact on the narrative and although they could be perceived as red herrings I also looked upon them as ingredients that sharpened the overall atmosphere of steadily mounting dread that develops as the movie progresses.
The vast majority of the movie’s ninety minute run time is focused on the two main characters with their decade’s long friendship wonderfully convincing. It would have been very easy to paint Chris as an irresponsible, junkie loser. It’s far more difficult to create a sympathetic, often funny character whose addiction is presented to the audience in a refreshingly non-judgmental fashion. Part of the reason why this works is the remarkable writing. Script writer and co-director Justin Benson has a keen ear for naturalistic dialogue. Much of the interplay between the two main characters comes across as being skilfully improvised but for the most part the line readings are exactly as they were in the script. Likewise the character of Peter, a role which could have so easily have been written as worthy and self-righteous is revealed as a truly compassionate, infinitely patient human being who just wants to stop his friend from killing himself.
Ultimately Resolution is a puzzle and an incredibly well realised one at that. Not only does it benefit from a second viewing but absolutely demands it. After my initial viewing I came away thinking that certain elements were open to interpretation; something that certainly didn't seem to result from a lack of confidence and/or focus on the part of the film-makers but rather grew organically out of the way the movie was written, filmed and structured. Having revisited the movie I realise that the film-makers intentions are there to be divulged. I still think it's a puzzle but one with a clear and expertly constructed denouement that says a lot about the role of the viewer in a movie (or any piece of fiction regardless of medium).
Resolution earns its place within the growing pantheon of indie horror movies that have been surfacing of late that reveal mainstream horror as the largely empty vessel it has become. As I indicated at the beginning of this piece this is an awkward movie to review. But I state with absolute confidence that if you enjoyed Jug Face, The Battery or Absentia you'll likely warm to this little gem. Alongside these films Resolution represents the true face of modern horror and I for one cannot wait to see what co-directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead come up with next.