Regression – Film Review


Hermione Granger certainly isn’t a little girl anymore. Fifteen years on from her debut in J. K. Rowling’s famous series, twenty-five-year-old Emma Watson has since starred in generally safe films, such as The Perks of Being A Wallflower, but Regression, directed by Alejandro Amenábar, is by far her most dark and daring film yet.

Regression is not for the faint-hearted. A twisted story following seventeen-year-old Angela Gray, this film is based on real-life events surrounding the Satanic Ritual Abuse panic in North America during the 1980s and 1990s. Set in the Minnesota of 1990, the film begins with Angela’s father, John Gray (David Dencik), entering the local police station in what appears to be an intoxicated state, provoking the audience to immediately assume in Mr Gray’s guilt, even before we are aware of his crime. They use clear devices to imply his intoxication, or otherwise trance-like state, by drowning out all noise and putting the audience in the shoes of Mr Gray.

Hypnosis is used as a regressive therapy to aid people in retrieving memories from their subconscious. In this film, Professor Kenneth Raines (David Thewlis) uses a metronome alongside the reading of different prompt words and phrases to help “find some key” to the “doors” that the memories are locked behind. This is perhaps a somewhat reductive representation of these types of therapies, and each session appears to be successful despite the characters’ negative reactions towards the therapy.

The choice to cast Emma Watson as a seventeen-year-old girl was perhaps over-ambitious. Watson was very selective about participating in a film regarding child abuse. However, in Regression she is playing a character eight years below her own age. In scenes that Angela should appear as a vulnerable, frightened child, Watson’s age prevents the audience from truly sympathising with her. However, in the darker scenes in this film, Watson’s age and acting experience land themselves to Angela’s character and allow her to dynamically portray the life of a troubled young woman.

Regression displays graphic detail of satanic rituals, including sexual abuse, infant sacrifice and child pornography. It follows a town that has been swept up into a satanic cult, so that none of the inhabitants can recall their own actions.

The film is thrillingly unpredictable, keeping the audience members on the edge of their seats whilst trying not to hide behind their hands. Director Amenábar skilfully places the audience into the mind-set of the police force investigating Angela’s case, causing the final twist in the story to leave any unsuspecting viewer in a state of shock.


For cheap tickets to go and see this film, Odeon offer Supersaver tickets most Monday-Thursdays before 5pm, as well as student discount! Book online at or from the Odeon Box Office.