15 – 101mins – 2015
IN SATAN’S NAME
Troubled and teary, Hogwarts alumni Emma Watson swaps fantasy and wands for terrifying real world worries as 17 year old abuse victim Angela Gray in this dour and humourless psychological drama. Inspired by disturbing actual events, this thriller was written, directed and produced by famed Spanish auteur Alejandro Amenábar, best known for spirited Nicole Kidman chiller The Others (2001).
Mired in darkness, noir-ish shadows and persistent rainfall throughout, Detective Bruce Kenner (a weary and agitated Ethan Hawke) leads a small town police investigation into the repressed memories of satanic cult members accused of horrific crimes in a God-fearing 1990 Minnesota, thanks to the revolutionary – but questionable – techniques of renowned psychologist Dr. Raines (a reliably level-headed David Thewlis).
With shades of spookiness courtesy of some nightmarish and disorientating dream sequences, Regression is competently plotted and makes for occasionally uneasy viewing (if hardly revolutionary given such comparable recent fare as Backtrack and Dark Places). Sadly, Amenábar’s grim tone and washed out palette are let down tremendously by a real damp squib of an “is that it?!” ending which fails to deliver a satisfying sting to this (forked) tale.