The fact that Alejandro Amenábar’s Regression is finally making its way to theaters in February, the month that has a strong track record of seeing weak releases, after initially being slated for a summer 2015 release shouldn’t preemptively sour you on the movie. Leave that to the trailer, which promises a “new vision of horror” even as it reveals a plot and setting that are instantly reminiscent of those from other films.
But first things first—Regression sees Detective Kenner (Ethan Hawke) investigating Angela Gray’s (Emma Watson) accusations of sexual assault against her father John, who admits to the crime even as he insists he has no recollection of it. A psychiatrist is brought in to help John recover his memories of the events, but Kenner soon finds that Angela’s assault is part of a larger conspiracy, which the devil may or may not be behind.
The rural (if not quite idyllic) setting for a criminal investigation recalls The Wicker Man, and the way the trailer is cut initially suggests that Angela is an impaired or otherwise reluctant witness, kind of like Brittany Murphy’s troubled young woman in Don’t Say A Word, which, incidentally, also saw a detective and psychiatrist scratching at the surface of wider criminal enterprise. Then there’s the “devil made me do it” storyline, whose accompanying hysteria could be borrowed from any film made about the West Memphis Three. But maybe Amenábar, who delivered a great gothic horror film in The Others, has found a way to inject something new into what otherwise looks like a by-the-numbers chiller.
Regression hits 100 theaters nationwide on February 5.