Friday, May 13, 2016

"Regression" (2015)

For a Christian teen in the late eighties, things were a little crazy. That decade’s obsession with the demonic cannot be overstated. Even at the time I remember having to proceed with caution. What you got as a youth those days was less in the way of discipleship teaching and what the Bible had to say for your daily life and more of a conspiracy-laden fantasy world where everything could lead you into a case of a real life “Exorcist.” Perhaps it was the fact that I was raised outside of the Bible Belt (and even the USA), or simply that I had solid, Biblically based, teachers and examples in my life, but I managed to keep the topic down to a curious “what if” level and not the center of my spiritual life.

But for those who lived that era of Evangelicalism, “Regression” promised to be interesting. For over a year leading up to this film’s release I was curious to see how it would be handled. Shortly before it came out, rumors that it was just another horror flick and that it might take the subject matter more seriously than the truth merited caused some concern. Happily, it is just what it needed to be. An “inspired by the true stories” thriller about the dangers of hysteria.

Sadly, it is not really a good film let alone great. More like a passable thriller. Ethan Hawke’s character starts out way to eager to believe everything that should be questioned. And, while that is reflective of the actual atmosphere those days, it doesn’t work here. Especially since he is not a believing man.

That is the greatest weakness of this story. There are no rational, believing people here to provide balance. The Christians here are all rubes. Some might argue that that is reflective of the way things were back then, but I am here to tell you that plenty of believers were around who did not buy into the hysteria.

And, for any believers out there curious to see the portrayal in this film be warned. Some of the nightmares induced by the hysteria are quite graphic.

1 comment:

  1. I can't tell from the trailer what exactly the deal is. I was around in the 80s and remember the Satanic-child-abuse hysteria, which developed directly into the repressed-memories-of-Satanic-abuse hysteria AND the Satanic-teens-murdering-people hysteria. But according to my memory, those phenomena were not at all limited to Christian groups; conservative Christians *were* buying into those sometimes, plus there was the "Devil in the toybox" thing. But repressed memories (which I guess this movie is about) was all over, possibly especially with secular and New Agey types; they seemed to get more into the repressed memories than Christians did.

    I'd actually like to know a lot more about all this than I do--I read "We Believe the Children" a few months ago and it was fascinating, plus it brought up a lot of questions I have about my own experiences peripheral to this stuff (you can read my thoughts about the book here: http://howlingfrog.blogspot.com/2015/10/we-believe-children.html).

    ReplyDelete

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