Rebecca Hall breathes life into creepy ‘Resurrection’

What makes Margaret run? Within the darkly arresting, committedly preposterous psychothriller “Resurrection,” she races up and down metropolis streets, her limbs pumping like pistons, a livid spring in her each accelerated step. It’s her morning train routine, however her demonic tempo and half-panicked, half-determined expression counsel one thing else; Margaret, performed by the ever-brilliant Rebecca Hall, doesn’t appear to be operating towards a lot as away from one thing. That turns into actually the case at some point at work, when one thing alarming catches her eye and sends her fleeing and flailing, determined to maintain outrunning a previous that appears to have lastly caught up together with her.

The author and director Andrew Semans (“Nancy, Please”) retains his heroine locked in his digicam’s sights, even when she doesn’t make that simple. Once we first meet her, Margaret appears coolly in charge of herself and her environment, from her swanky high-rise condo to the glassy government suite the place she works. That management expresses itself in ways in which you would virtually dismiss as standard-issue “tightly wound”: within the bodily intense however impassive intercourse she has with a married co-worker (Michael Esper); within the sternly supportive recommendation she provides an intern (Angela Wong Carbone) who’s in a nasty relationship; and above all within the shut watch she retains on her personal college-bound daughter, Abbie (a terrific Grace Kaufman).

Margaret and Abbie’s well-observed bond — filled with mutual affection, even because the latter more and more chafes below the previous’s tight reins — is among the finest issues about “Resurrection.” When unusual issues begin to occur to Abbie — a bizarre discovery, a biking accident — we naturally share Margaret’s parental concern. However Abbie, in flip, provides us with a logical viewpoint on Margaret, concerning her mom first with delicate exasperation after which with quickly mounting alarm. And what lastly provides this film its sustained stress is the diploma to which it persuades us to desert logic altogether, to situate ourselves on Margaret’s wavelength whilst her phrases and actions defy comprehension. When the digicam tracks her down an workplace hall or throughout a park courtyard, it virtually appears to be pulling her — or is it being pulled by her? — into the depths of a menacing new world.

Tim Roth and Rebecca Hall within the film “Resurrection.”

(IFC Movies)

Or maybe an outdated one. The soon-revealed supply of Margaret’s anxieties is a person named David (an ineluctably sinister Tim Roth), whom she begins recognizing in public locations — at a piece convention, in a division retailer — and whom she lastly musters up the nerve to confront: “Go away,” she murmurs, all that steely assertiveness immediately gone from her voice. David, for his half, claims to not know her at first, however inside moments casually reveals that he very a lot does. These two have some historical past, one which takes its time unraveling itself, although each actors are very good at suggesting the poisonous core dynamics by way of expressions and intonations: Hall with downward glances and muttered expletives, Roth with a cult chief’s voice of insinuating, mock-pleasant calm.

In time the entire fact will come pouring out, in a monologue that Margaret delivers, for minutes on finish, to an unblinking digicam that appears to have lastly succeeded at pinning her down. The backstory particulars are grisly, appalling and borderline laughable, and with out Hall’s unwaveringly sympathetic, ferociously internalized efficiency, laughter would possibly certainly have been the suitable response. However Hall’s peerless capacity to get below a protagonist’s pores and skin (to say nothing of yours), beforehand on show within the biographical drama “Christine” and the supernatural horror movie “The Night House,” compels us to take Margaret critically. So does the filmmaking, whose each technique — the lengthy takes and gray-to-murky tones of Wyatt Garfield’s cinematography, the stabbing arpeggios of Jim Williams’ rating — supplies a proper complement to Hall’s each tic and gesture.

A woman and her reflection both wear a frightened expression.

Rebecca Hall stars in “Resurrection” from Andrew Semans, an official choice of the 2022 Sundance Movie Pageant.

(Wyatt Garfield / Sundance Institute)

There’s extra at work right here than simply Hall’s unsurprising mastery of exposed-nerves emoting; each she and Semans, hanging unnervingly dissonant chords at each flip, appear to be working in near-perfect concord. Which isn’t to counsel that the film itself is close to excellent. Like Alex Garland’s latest, extra demonstratively unhinged “Men,” with which it could make an enjoyably shivery feminist-horror double invoice, “Resurrection” doesn’t fully shake off the texture of a style image wrapped round a rigorously worked-out thesis, one which’s generally overly keen to ensure we don’t miss its #MeToo-era resonance or its feminist-horror bona fides.

Each movies take inspiration — at the least of their no-holds-barred closing passages — from the extreme corporeal horror of filmmakers like David Cronenberg. Each, too, domesticate an ambiguity of intent and that means, although what “Resurrection” has to say about male gaslighting, maternal guilt, feminine trauma and the return of the repressed is in the end clear sufficient. Maybe a bedeviled thoughts, pushed far sufficient, has methods of forging its personal fragile actuality. A thoughts seemingly at relaxation would possibly nonetheless, in actual fact, be operating quicker than ever.


(Not rated)

Working time: 1 hour, 43 minutes

Taking part in: Laemmle Glendale; Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Downtown Los Angeles; Laemmle NoHo 7, North Hollywood; Laemmle Monica Movie Middle, Santa Monica; Harkins Theatres Chino Hills 18; out there Aug. 5 on streaming platforms