BITS 2020: Our Review of ‘The Return’

Posted in BITS 2020, What's Streaming? by - November 05, 2020
BITS 2020: Our Review of ‘The Return’

Director BJ Verot’s feature debut The Return is part science-fiction tale, and part haunted house story. While elements of both work in their own moments, it never fully coalesced into a cohesive package. Still, there are enough successful elements in here to certainly make it worth watching.

After the untimely passing of his father, Roger (Richard Harmon), a brilliant physics student, returns to his childhood home along with his girlfriend Beth (Sarah Thompson) and best friend Jordan (Echo Andersson) to get the affairs in order. As old, repressed memories arise in Roger’s mind, he must confront his past.

The cast in The Return is quite strong. I liked all three of the lead performances and felt that they had very good chemistry in their trio. That written, the standout for me was Andersson’s Jordan. She’s funny, enthusiastic, and naturally likeable. I felt that most of the dialogue was decent. Certainly nothing special, but even when the sci-fi elements of the story start getting a little bogged down by their pseudo-science, the screenplay remains grounded, when it easily could become silly.

The film uses a combination of visual effects and practical makeup to achieve its “entity”. The CGI version of the character does not look all that good. Not only is the design rather familiar (quite reminiscent of the ghost in Andy Muschietti’s Mama), its execution leaves some to be desired. On the flip side of that, the practical makeup looks quite good. It has that tactile quality one gets when capturing something in-camera.

As alluded to earlier, the story is somewhat uneven. The first half is more horror, the second more sci-fi. While the horror elements are not particularly scary, and the sci-fi elements not particularly original, I still found the story quite engaging, and really enjoyed the ending.

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