The Return (Widescreen Edition) (DVD) ~ Sarah Michelle Gellar (a... Cover Art

The Return (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)

Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sam Shepard, J.C. Mackenzie, Adam Scott, Kate Beahan

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The Return is a drowsy, mildly creepy and unexpectedly well-crafted supernatural thriller that lays off the cheap thrill and gore factor in favor of the slow build up to fright and a twist ending that, while effective, may hit viewers as mostly out of left field. The Sixth Sense it ain''t, but there''s enough texture, style and ladled-on art direction to keep the eeriness palpable even through some of the more labored dialogue and plot contrivances. A chocolate-haired Sarah Michelle Gellar (what was wrong with her natural goldilocks?) plays Joanna Mills, some sort of traveling sales rep in a big pickup truck who journeys from her nightmare-disturbed life in St. Louis back to a small town in Texas that she sort-of remembers. Demons from the girlhood she once knew there come fiendishly together in a mishmash of flashbacks and present-day creep-outs involving murder, self-mutilation and spirits that have haunted her more than she knows. Gellar has become a go-to for glossy Hollywood horrorshows like this, thanks to her work in the Grudge franchise and the remnants of our memories from her Buffy glory days. In spite of the handful of slipshod faults in story and directorial force, she holds her own against the vibrantly dilapidated set decorations along with a variety of other equally important characters. There''s a creepy ex-boyfriend, a disgusting being stalking a phantom woman she recognizes from her psychosis-induced visions, and a hunky guy who''s facing down mysteries from his own past. (Do they all intersect? Hmmm...) She even stands her ground against Sam Shepard, who is all but slumming it in his few scenes as her dad. He talks about an incident that forever changed her when she was 11 years old, but his weird allusions are as enigmatic as the film itself, which desperately wants to be better than it is. But The Return still carries its share of respectable fears that are made scarier by the effectively edited string of spooky noises and images. Together they add up to make a worthy entrant in the genre of understated ghost story. --Ted Fry

Release Note

Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Grudge) stars in this shocking, non-stop supernatural thriller unlike anything you''ve ever experienced before. Joanna Mills (Gellar) is haunted by increasingly terrifying visions where she can see and feel the brutal murder of a woman she''s never met. With her life spiraling out-of-control, she follows the relentless nightmares to an eerie small town in Texas - a place where secrets can''t be buried, a spirit seeks vengeance, and the horrific murder from Joanna''s visions may just be her own.

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