Resolution Blu-ray Review
Would you go out to an old, rotted out, abandoned cabin to stop your best friend from killing himself with drugs? Would you be willing to spend a week with him/her during their detox/withdrawal? Would you handcuff them to a pipe to make sure they don’t leave and have no access to drugs while you’re there? This is the opening premise of RESOLUTION, a new-to-Blu-ray flick from co-directors Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson. Surprisingly, even with the tired premise (sound like EVIL DEAD anyone?), RESOLUTION is absolutely brilliant.
RESOLUTION is the type of movie you hope to see in the theater though these strong character driven pieces are usually reserved for the festival circuit (which coincidentally is where RESOLUTION started out). Starring unknown actors and directed by a couple of indie filmmakers who haven’t really cut through the veneer of Hollywood, RESOLUTION isn’t a movie that even, at first glance, registered on my radar. After viewing, however, I’m sorry for those slights and oversights on my part and I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity I have to turn you onto this independent gem of a thriller.
When Michael Danube (Peter Cilella) gets a strange email linking to a video from his life-long friend (and current methamphetamine addict) Chris (Vinny Curran), his wife warns him against charging to the rescue, again. But something about the raw, intimate, and intensely odd footage draws Michael to the isolated cabin where Chris has been going on another binge, likely to kill himself. When he arrives Chris is randomly firing a pistol to get rid of the birds (though none are audible/visible). When Michael is finally able to secure Chris in the cabin, he informs Chris that they will be staying there while Chris detoxes and explains his hopes in taking this approach.
Within a few moments of the start of RESOLUTION, you think you’ve got it all figured out. The premise is simple and straight forward until, suddenly, it isn’t. Strange things keep happening to the duo. Michael begins discovering strange stories in various media (i.e. photos, 8MM films, even things on the computer) all of which claim an unknown presence within the cabin and then end with violence and/or death. Soon we’re no longer worried about the drug withdrawal, instead finding ourselves riveted by the history of this terrifying cabin and the people who have dwelled there.
What makes RESOLUTION work? It’s not a simple answer, not only because I don’t want to spoil it but also because the puzzle pieces given to the audience are of utmost importance to the story and they just keep getting better and better. The second reason it works though is the best part of the movie. It’s the relationship between Chris and Michael, played beautifully and credibly by lead actors Peter Cilello and Vinny Curran. They both give their all throughout the movie and despite it having some small moments where things are just too weird to be understandable, the vast majority of the flick is just incredible. The actors are both clearly very strong and they also have a chemistry rivaling some of the closest relationships I’ve seen on screen.
This is where the filmmakers simply could not have done better and it is a credit to them. In addition to having an incredibly interesting story we actually care what happens to these guys. Michael comes out to the wilderness a jaded but thoughtful friend and finds Chris in a hole much deeper than he could have imagined. Through the characters’ journeys we all learn something about ourselves and about the nature of friendship, laughter, and absolute horror. What Moorhead and Benson have accomplished here should not be overlooked. This is essentially the story trying to be told in the rebooted EVIL DEAD and various other horror flicks. But what works here is the focus on simplicity, on experiencing the situation with Chris and Michael, and growing increasingly uneasy as more and more and more goes wrong. To put it simply – I cannot give this movie enough praise. It is phenomenal… but I would avoid most of the special features on the disc (especially the “Weird Extras”) as they could ruin this otherwise amazing cinematic experience.
RESOLUTION BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2.39:1) The video isn’t exceptionally clean but it is perfect for RESOLUTION and is completely immersive.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The audio for RESOLUTION is really well done though nothing really pops out. One of the greatest things about this movie is that it doesn’t use any of the usual jump sounds, scoring, or other crutches regularly seen in the horror film world.
Commentaries – RESOLUTION features 3 commentary tracks:
Directors’ Commentary (01:33:03) Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead watch the movie together in a living room and talk about their process for making RESOLUTION, including a lot of technical talk. Thankfully the guys are fairly engrossing and really cared about this project, making this one worth the time. If you like commentaries in general or if you’re someone who wants to make an independent film somday, definitely check this one out.
Cast and Crew Commentary (01:33:03) Justin, Aaron, Peter, Vinny all talk about the movie. There are definitely some other people in the movie but they aren’t ever introduced. There are also a number of loud beeps over the commentary when the guys say things they apparently aren’t allowed to talk about. This commentary is really disappointing because it’s so difficult to understand with the guys shouting over each other multiple times to be heard.
Carmel the Dog Commentary (01:33:03) A disappointing and grandiose gesture, supposed to be tongue in cheek, is really just another opportunity for the guys to sit down and watch RESOLUTION again. Too long without relevance makes this one extremely frustrating as well. I guess this one is for anyone who wants to hear a dog breath, whine and bark during a commentary. Self-indulgent nonsense isn’t my taste.
Interview with the Filmmakers (02:48) A nicely done but far too brief (check out the Directors’ Commentary instead) addition to RESOLUTION features too many shots from the film instead of real interview footage.
Weird Extras – A bunch of stuff is thrown in here – and this section, I’ve got to be honest, you should completely avoid. It’s pretty much full of stuff the guys thought would be funny but after listening to even one of the commentaries, it’s just too much. Where the RESOLUTION filmmakers are endearing on the commentary, they will almost completely turn you off with this garbage, which includes the following: (I watched it so YOU don’t have to!)
“Alternative Lifestyle” Trailer (01:40) A redband trailer presents the movie, and Chris and Michael’s relationship as the centerpiece of RESOLUTION… implying they’re homosexual must be really funny to some people… Weirdly the movie was apparently called “Cabin Fever” when this trailer was shot.
How RESOLUTION Will Help You Have Sex (02:03) The directors talk about how RESOLUTION can help everyone have sex. Kind of funny… mostly boring.
Shane the Missing Character Featurette (02:41) Another actor is inserted with the premise that he was originally the ‘third friend’ in RESOLUTION.
Topless Scene (00:16) A scene not found in RESOLUTION, shot much later for fun, I suppose. The self-indulgence of the filmmakers is grating on my nerves.
Extended Scene: Lawyer Call (01:42) Another scene supposedly cut from RESOLUTION, which would have completely destroyed any shred of greatness the film had left.
Alternate Ending (05:27) An additional scene takes place six months after RESOLUTION ends. This is totally a rip-off though it is fun to see the relationship between the two lead actors as they riff together again.
Trailers: This section includes the Teaser Trailer (01:29) and the Theatrical Trailer (01:48) from RESOLUTION’s limited release after being featured in the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival. Solid trailers for a GREAT movie.
Outtakes and Unseen Footage – A lot of additional footage from RESOLUTION is included here, though the guys said several times they used almost everything in the commentary.
Behind the Scenes (22:14) Behind the scenes footage shot by one of the directors as they were rehearsing, shooting some of the found footage moments. Real behind the scenes here on an independent film. This is the best special feature on the RESOLUTION disc, and one of the few I would recommend viewing.
Extended Found Footage: 8MM (00:47) The full version of the footage we saw in RESOLUTION is presented here without sound.
Extended Found Footage: Crazy Chris (01:28) This footage is still scary, even after the other stuff we’ve seen on this disc. Well deserved for Vinny, a good addition to RESOLUTION.
Extended Found Footage: Webcam Death (00:44) Another bit of tertiary footage from RESOLUTION.
Extended Found Footage: Cult Members (02:21) This is an extended scene but not really found footage. Glad it was cut from RESOLUTION.
Outtakes (11:10) Some good moments continue to show Peter and Vinny’s chemistry in RESOLUTION.
Film Festival Promos (22:25) Some promos shot for various film festivals are included on the Blu-ray. The guys are much funnier in these short bursts than in the rest of the RESOLUTION extra features.