Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2012: Resolution

When Resolution was described to me as 'a low-fi Cabin In The Woods', I was a bit skeptical. Joss Whedon's completely unexpected meta-horror was nothing short of a pipe bomb dropped on the genre, not unlike what Kevin Williamson's Scream accomplished back in the 90's. It has forever changed the landscape of what can be done with the traditional, often-overused elements of horror. I was pleasantly surprised, then, to find that Aaron Moorehead and Justin Benson's Resolution not only follows in the footsteps of these genre-benders, but takes several brave steps of its own.

I am going to try to avoid gushing too much about this film, but be warned that it's not an easy task when you have such genuinely likeable guys behind this project - from the producer to the directors, to the talent, you just want these guys to succeed and can't help but root for them. The love they have for the genre and for film in general shines through in every frame, in every narrative twist, and in every witty, meticulously-crafted line of dialogue.

Resolution tells the story of two close friends, Michael and Chris (Peter Cilella and Vinny Curran respectively), who have drifted apart since college — largely because of Chris's increasing addiction to crystal meth and a recent decision to hole up in an abandoned cabin to live — and do meth — as he pleases. When Michael decides to remedy this by going to the cabin and handcuffing Chris to the wall in an attempt to force him to detox for a week, the pair become entwined in a series of bizarre happenings that are teased out with creepy clues that Michael can't help but unravel.

While Resolution is primarily a horror, it contains elements of mystery, comedy, and even a treatise about the limits of friendship. The latter is owed almost entirely to the magnificent chemistry between Cilella and Curran, who might well be my favourite pair of characters on-screen this year. Curran, especially, portrays the most likeable meth-head I've ever seen (high praise when Jesse Pinkman, Skinny Pete, and Badger from Breaking Bad exist) and, even in the throes of withdrawal, maintains a sharp, biting sense of humour. Cilella's Michael has a devotion to his friend that will melt the cockles of your robotic hearts, never wavering from his mission to get Chris clean and going to extraordinary efforts to this end.

Of course, Resolution is still a horror movie first and foremost. The mysterious clues left in the vicinity of the cabin (and sometimes in the cabin itself) come in the form of old vinyl records, ancient filmstrips, photographs, and just about every other medium you can imagine. As these clues become more and more frequent, Michael becomes obsessed with unravelling the mystery and this brings in some compelling peripheral characters — including my favourite, a French professor played by Bill Oberest Jr. The — ahem — resolution of the film provides the biggest horror element of all, and also one of the biggest mysteries of the piece that will leave you thinking about it for days afterwards.

Resolution is the kind of film that demands multiple viewings, and is right up there with American Mary as one of my favourite films of Toronto After Dark. Moorehead and Benson, in one fell swoop, have proven themselves to be two of the most inventive, capable new voices to break into horror in many years. If their next project is half as riveting as Resolution is, it would be hard to rate it as anything but brilliant. My only complaint is that it can't come soon enough.


We've been posting review of the Toronto After Dark Film Festival all week. You can find them the rest here.

This review was written by Sachin Hingoo, a freelance writer when he is not working at an office job that is purpose-built for paying the bills while he works as a freelance writer.  His writing has appeared on, the CBC Street Level Blog,, and The Midnight Madness Blog for the Toronto International Film Festival. He has also been featured at Toronto lecture series Trampoline Hall (which is rumored to be excellent). His mutant power is 'feigning interest'. You can read all of his posts here.

Photo: The poster for Resolution, a film about friendship and meth


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