Jessie (Mischa Barton), a school psychologist tries to help Eli (Jonathan Michael Trautmann) who believes his dead brother is coming back from the grave to avenge his death. Naturally, bedlam ensues.
Devon Sawa has continued to work in genre fare, somewhat regularly, since his breakout roles in Idle Hands and Final Destination. He was a familiar and welcome face in A Resurrection. Sawa turned in a good performance, as Travis. And Mischa Barton successfully broke the mold of the roles we’ve seen her play time and again. The late Michael Clark Duncan was excellent as the high school principal. The entire cast actually turned in above average and authentic performances. I was surprised that first time director Matt Orlando was able to round up such great talent for his directorial debut. The cast helped turn what could have been a run of the mill, low budget horror film in to something more than that.
A Resurrection doesn’t feel like a first film. Between having a cast of mostly established actors and a fairly well written script, I completely forgot that A Resurrection was Matt Orlando’s first film. That’s not to say that the film is without flaws, but A Resurrection has plenty of things working in its favor.
You can tell that A Resurrection was made on a lower budget, but it has a certain polish to it. The film feels like a movie that was made for a lot more money than what was actually spent. That always impresses me. It takes true creativity to stretch a micro budget into anything more than that, and Matt Orlando stretched his budget very effectively.
I was pleased with the way the film was paced. Though, there isn’t a lot going on in the first 30 minutes, other than build up, it never lost my attention. I was interested enough in the dynamic between the school psychologist and her students that I felt compelled to keep watching. A lot of movies lose my interest by trying to over develop characters that aren’t likable or by trying too hard for slow burn. That approach always makes me want to turn off whatever film I am watching and catch up on Sally Jessie Raphael reruns.
While there were some aspects of the film that were slightly predictable, for the most part, A Resurrection does a good job of keeping the viewer in the dark about what exactly is happening. There were several times that the film surprised me and I appreciate that.
A Resurrection did a good job of leaving certain aspects of the film up to the viewer to figure out. We are not spoon feed every detail and audiences appreciate that. We respect filmmakers that trust their viewers to put the pieces together themselves.
Though A Resurrection bares slight similarities to other films we’ve seen before, the premise is primarily unique. I like the way that Matt Orlando’s script mixed reality with aspects of occult spirituality and kept the viewer wondering how the two were ultimately going to work together.
Overall, the script was well written, but I had one issue with it. Though the film addresses why the students are being held at the school, it wasn’t believable. In the litigious society we live in, those children’s parents would have filed suit against the school and won. The school psychologist was communicating with the students in a manner that bordered on interrogation and she was doing it without a parent or attorney present. The school was also holding the students, beyond school hours, against their will and for an excessive amount of time. The way that played out was highly unrealistic. As much as that segment troubled me, it didn’t bother me to the point where I couldn’t enjoy the film.
Overall, I really liked A Resurrection. I had a great time watching it and I think its certainly worth a look.
A Resurrection will be in select theatres on March 22nd.