The Return (2006)

This November, fear comes home.

Original Title : The Return
Director : Asif Kapadia
Writer : Adam Sussman
Genre : Drama
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : Marc D. Evans, Steve Gaub, Trevor Macy, Aaron Ryder, Ron Schmidt, Jeffrey Silver
Music : Dario Marianelli
Photography : Roman Osin
Distributor : Rogue Pictures, Focus Features, Cinergia Ltd., Eagle Pictures, Pandasia Entertainment, Sandrew Metronome Distribution Finland, TOBIS Film, Universal Pictures International, Universal Pictures
MPAA Rating : Rated PG-13 for violence, terror and disturbing images.
IMDB ID : 0433442
Official site :
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poster for "The Return" by Asif Kapadia (2006)
The Return (2006) - Asif Kapadia


Sarah Michelle Gellar Joanna Mills
Peter O'Brien Terry Stahl
Adam Scott Kurt
Kate Beahan Michelle
Sam Shepard Ed Mills
Erinn Allison Annie
Frank Ertl Ambrose Miller
Bonnie Gallup Bella
Erica Jones Additional voices (voice)
Brad Leland Mr. Marlin
J.C. MacKenzie Griff & Young Griff
Darrian McClanahan Young Joanna Mills
Angela Rawna Doctor
Brent Smiga Higgins
Wally Welch Snack Stand Vendor
Robert Wilson Billy
Peter Cornwell Tavern Cowboy (uncredited)
Glori Renee Euwer Nurse (uncredited)
Ben Hamby Extra (uncredited)
Peyton Hayslip Laraine (uncredited)
Katie Knighten Club Dancer (uncredited)
Dan Murphy Bar Patron / VW Bug Driver (uncredited)
Harry Santiago Pool Player (uncredited)
Angela Ware Club Dancer (uncredited)


Joanna Mills, a tough young Midwesterner, is determined to learn the truth behind the increasingly terrifying supernatural visions that have been haunting her. Joanna has made a successful career for herself, as sales representative for a trucking company. But her private life has been difficult, estranged from her father, stalked by an obsessed ex-boyfriend, and with few friends, Joanna fears that she is losing control. She sees and feels the brutal murder of a young woman she's never met, at the hands of a heartless killer, a man who appears to be making Joanna his next target. Determined to fight back, Joanna is guided by her nightmares to the murdered woman's hometown. Once there, she will discover that some secrets can't be buried, some spirits never die, and that the murder she is trying to solve may be her own.


There are attractions to this film. One, it proceeds at its own pace specific to the revelations the main character achieves. Some would say it moves too slowly but, I think, this is only in contrast to recent genre films that rush to exploit thrills, sometimes fun, sometimes silly. The pace is more like that of classic mystery movies with a little film noir mixed in.The atmosphere is somewhat reminiscent of recent Japanese horror films and remakes though the narrative is much more structured. This is emphasized by the "washed out" look of the photography even in direct sunlight. Of course, parts of Texas where much of this was shot appear a little washed out in reality. While this is not especially flattering to the actors, it underscores the uncertainty the characters must endure. (Congratulations to Ms. Gellar for acceding to this when most actresses are looking for every cinematographic advantage they can get!) The film is more about character and the discovery of destiny than about complex plot or even surprises. As in many Hitchcock movies, the audience is supposed to know more about some things than the characters. Most horror and mystery fans will have a pretty good inkling of the answer the heroine is seeking well before all the loose ends are tied up. (As the "Robot Chicken" version of M. Night Shyamalan might say, "What a twist!") Ms. Gellar must portray a repressed young woman suffering from more than one trauma from the past. She conveys effectively that her character is confused, haunted, resolute, scared, brave and smart enough to make her way in a good ole boy business world. She cannot accept help even from the few who are closest to her. Her premonitions (memories?) lead her to out of the way places and a man with a past as tormented as her own. There is solid support from the reliable Sam Shepard and from J.C. MacKenzie in a performance that is quite a departure from his usual roles.
poster for "The Return"
1780 x 2500
The Return (2006) - Asif Kapadia
poster for "The Return"
1000 x 1558
The Return (2006) - Asif Kapadia