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Sundance Film Festival Review: Rebecca Hall Makes ‘Resurrection’ a Memorably Harrowing Experience

Horror/thriller hybrids can oftentimes land in a big way at the Sundance Film Festival. This particular genre mix doesn’t require a huge budget, but just the right concept and then actor or actress in the lead role. If you can hit on that, you have a movie on your hands. In particular, fragile women falling apart on a form of malevolent terror has become the rage. Resurrection is our 2022 example of this, showcasing some ace acting alongside a mixture of horror and thriller. Luckily, not only is the central performance one of the festival’s best, its premise hits home hard.

Resurrection is intense stuff, though boosted at its best by a remarkable central performance from Rebecca Hall. While the surrealism on display is sometimes hit or miss, the acting is truly on point. That means that when it’s working well, it’s elevated, and even in its lesser moments, is still compelling to watch for Hall alone.

For Margaret (Hall), having her life in order is key to her happiness. Having everything under control is essential. Luckily, this has also made her a capable, disciplined, and successful individual. Everything is under control, both at work and at home, where she’s a single mother to Abbie (Grace Kaufman). Nothing could throw her off of her game, except that is, a figure from her past.

Out one day, she spots a man she’s sure is David (Tim Roth). A reminder of the horrors she escaped, her quickly becomes a ubiquitous presence in her life, running into her and showing off a menacing vibe. Before long, Margaret starts seeing him everywhere, with darker and darker undertones. As she tries to keep it together, Margaret will need to confront what she’s hidden from for two decades. David has unfinished business with her, but she has the same with him.

Resurrection

Rebecca Hall has nailed this kind of a role before, but that takes nothing away from how good she is here. As for Tim Roth, he’s rarely been as quietly menacing as he is here. From first moment to last, you’re disturbed by him, even when he’s not doing anything. Roth impressively imbues David with darkness. Grace Kaufman goes toe to toe with Hall, standing tall in some latter scenes. Supporting players include Angela Wong Carbone and Michael Esper, but this is Hall’s show.

Filmmaker Andrew Semans makes things pretty surreal at times. Those aren’t necessarily the best moments on display, but Resurrection doesn’t just showcase Hall. Semans’ ability to ratchet up the intensity is impressive. Had things either been a little more grounded or a little more out there, this might have been something really special.

Resurrection has one of the best performances of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival at its core. Rebecca Hall is quickly becoming a master at this sort of role. Considering how much better the movie is because of her, it’s a great thing to behold. This one is about to be acquired, so potentially look out for it soon!

SCORE: ★★★

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Written by Joey Magidson

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