Resolution - Movie Review & Filmmaker Interview
*SPOILER ALERT* The best horror films always have a good, believable story at their core. Resolution is about two friends who’ve become estranged because one of them, Chris, played by Vinny Curran, is now a meth addict and is squatting in the California Mountains stoned out of his mind. Meanwhile, the other, Michael (Peter Cilella) has a beautiful girlfriend and has moved on to greener pastures. But he hasn’t given up on his friend and decides to trek into the hills one weekend in a last ditch effort to save him from inevitable death.
After Michael arrives and assesses the situation, he tazes Chris, handcuffs him to a pipe in an exposed wall, and dares him to make it a week without any drugs. That’s the basic set up for Resolution, and that alone would make for an interesting movie. But there are crazy happenings up in “dem dar hills.” Things that would scare the heck out of someone who wasn’t getting high 24/7. Oh, and did I mention the house Chris is squatting in happens to be on a Native American reservation?
As a horror aficionado, I was pleasantly surprised at the slow burn pacing of Resolution. By that end of that movie, directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead have ensconced the audience in such a believable, crazy setting that you get the feeling anything could happen - and you really cannot tell where Resolution is going in those last 15 minutes. That’s exciting in a time when scaring people in the movies is becoming more and more difficult against a backdrop of everyday horrors that are worse than the best Stephen King novel.
There are some funny lines in Resolution and a consistent humor that is surprising. I also liked the way the two main characters behaved believably when the danger set in. They didn’t do those things that make you shout at the movie screen, and yet, they still meet an untimely demise. It’s much scarier that way. Bravo to all in involved with Resolution. I sense good things on the horizon for Moorhead and Benson.
Check out Resolution on In Demand
Congratulations on getting your film out there and 100% with Rotten Tomatoes. Horror films usually have a tough time with the critics, so that is kind of a big deal.
Q: It seems that these days, the means to filmmaking are more readily available than ever. With advent of the Canon 5D Mark II, just about anybody can go out and shoot a film that blows away the look of indies of the early late 90’s and early 00s. But distribution and securing a place within the Hollywood system is harder than ever. Perfect example: Edward Burns got more/better post film opportunities from Brother McMullen than he did Newlyweds (digital distribution only) How did you guys go about securing distribution for Resolution and where do you see it taking you in terms of a future in Hollywood? Are the big studios calling because of the critical success of the movie?
A: (Justin & Aaron) Distribution through Tribeca Film is a dream. The world of distribution is changing, especially in indie film, where it's all being distributed through online channels (although we were fortunate enough to have a theatrical release as well). What's cool about it is that if anyone in the USA wants to see Resolution, the only barrier between them and it is five bucks or so. Anyone with an internet connection can watch it, you don't even have to drive to the store.
As far as our future goes, Resolution's primary benefit for us has definitely been the exposure and the doors we now get to walk through. But most important to us in our next step is being able to make our next movie with enough control that we aren't going to be forced to add in a pet raccoon or something. So, no matter who knocks, we're willing to play ball but we're not pushovers.
Q: I know you guys have probably gotten this question a dozen times, but where did the inspiration for Resolution come from?
A: Aaron: Justin developed the script and I think he just plain nailed it. But why make the movie itself? Simple. If you want to be a filmmaker, go make films. Resolution was ready to go, and it was awesome, there was no downside to doing it and all upsides.
Justin: It's fun to see if you can actually frighten people by making them actually care about realistic characters. And it was written for me, Aaron, Peter and Vinny to make. Through working on short films and commercials together we really honed in on what works.
Q: Ok, the girl that comes to the window that one night… She is just a junky from the halfway house, right? I can sleep at night if I know that’s all she was, but if there was some supernatural element involved with that spooky woman, you guys owe me an Ambien or three.
A: Aaron: I'd just say let's go with whatever gives you nightmares. Everyone in the movie has been affected by the antagonist in one way or another, so it's not a straightforward answer.
Justin: She is a patient from a low security mental/drug rehab place down the road, but since she is in an altered state (crazy), let's just say she's not exactly staring at Mike or Chris from that window. This is something she has in common with the UFO cult, Byron, etc... She's a bit more tuned into our unseen antagonist.
Q: What are three of your favorite horror movies and why?
A: Aaron: I'm not going to say The Exorcist because I know Justin will. But Wake In Fright might be my favorite. It's a horror movie with no supernatural element although you keep waiting for everyone to announce they're in a cult or something, and anything that can ACTUALLY be real seems more frightening to me. A spiral into drinking hell. It kinda sounds like our film festival run, to be honest.
The Descent for fooling us all that it might just be a movie about claustrophobia, then throwing it back at us in the most horrifying way possible. Also, LOVELY, DARING cinematography like The Descent's is rare.
Alien, for merging techno-scifi and horror perfectly, and for having a monster that's actually scary to look at.
Justin: Agreed, and The Exorcist, Alien, The Devil's Backbone, Cabin in the Woods, The House with the Laughing Windows, Who Can Kill a Child, The Ring is pretty good until the 3rd act... I recently saw Lovely Molly and found that pretty impressive... Ah! And Citadel and American Mary.
Q: What type of camera was Resolution shot on?
A: (Justin & Aaron) The Red Mx, a 4k digital camera, mounted on something called the Easyrig but operated in such a way that it was kind of halfway between steadicam and handheld.
Q: What’s next for you guys? Do you intend on doing more horror (hopefully so)?
We have three completed scripts we're shopping (and it's going really well), as well as a few projects in development around town. We just finished a short film that should be back on the festival circuit this year, and a music video we did just had its MTV premiere! As far as what genre we'll do next, it'll likely have some kind of horror or fantastical element one way or another (we seem to be drawn to it), but we honestly just like making movies that we think are good, no matter what the genre.