Toronto After Dark – Resolution – Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead

Resolution is a twisted updated take on the mysterious, oft-visited genre of the cabin in the woods, and was the second feature tonight at Toronto After Dark’s film festival.

Often funny, very creepy, and with enough questions to make you wonder what’s really going on, Resolution is a ride that bounces through a variety of media and seeks to combine the natural with the metaphysical and brushes up against the paranormal.

Michael (Peter Cilella) has gone to the ass end of nowhere to see his friend Chris (Vinny Curran), a meth addict who is holed up in a tumbledown cabin. After receiving a message from Chris (or did he?) Mike decides to make one last effort to get Chris to go cold turkey.

Handcuffing Mike, Chris is left to deal with some of the weird locals he comes across or comes calling, drug dealers, Native Americans (because of course the cabin is on tribal grounds), a UFO cult awaiting their celestial messiah, and a strange French man who talks about stories and a group of students who vanished 30 years ago.

Just as things can’t get odder, diaries, records, pictures, film reels and even web cams seem to start telling Chris a number of stories, and he is practically led or manipulated into finding each new item, including some of their own death.

It seems someone/something wants a story from them, a story with a definite ending.

The film itself is very much about storytelling and how we tell and perceive that story, whether through oral histories, cave paintings, diaries, pictures or film. Chris asks how a jungle tribesman would know the difference between an alien, an angel and a ghost? They wouldn’t, they’d see them in the context of their own story telling and history.

Thoughts like that, as well as those supplied by Charles (Zahn McClarnon), their Native American landlord telling them that the hills are full of buried drug addicts tends to put the boys and the audience on edge.

The mystery and the escalating tension ratcheted up by Mike’s statement about simply surviving the reel and they’ll be ok is perfectly balanced by the playful humour and chemistry that permeates the relationship of the two leads.

The use of different media types, all various ways to tell a story, is great, and you are equally curious and fearful to know what it contains. Their own reality is subject to change as well, always preceded by an orange camera flicker that Chris begins to sense as the film rockets to its conclusion.

The directors, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead and the cast, who were on hand last night, and a lot of fun have created a delicious little confection of a film that puts a nice new tweak on the cabin in the woods sub-genre. One that I thinks deserves repeated viewings so you can catch all the little details.

You can find more Resolution here, on Facebook, Twitter and make sure you check out the What Was Found blog (a very odd creation where you can see a lot of the material and pics Chris finds in the film as well as a lot of other odd things and world-building material) under the Fun then Weird links on their official site.

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