Posted on May 16, 2023
I love big movies — currently, I’m pacing the floors waiting for Dune Part II to come out in November — but my true obsession is finding little, off brand, often low budget movies that beat the odds and deliver an unqualified punch.
From Used Cars to Tourist Trap, extraordinarily creative filmmakers somehow manage to turn a micro budget into a macro victory. My latest discovery is Resolution, a movie shot for $20,000 in the hillbilly hills around San Diego by two filmmakers frustrated by their attempts to break into Hollywood.
Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead, the same film-making team behind Marvel’s Moon Knight series, met while interning at a commercial production house. Both were frustrated by their attempts to crack the Hollywood egg, so they raised $20,000 and wrote a script that would fit into that budget. Then they grabbed a RED camera and drove up into the hills.
One of the things that movies like Resolution (and the sequel The Endless) prove is that good writing trumps low budgets every time. Good writing improves actors’ performances, it builds suspense that causes the audience to overlook cracks in the film-making, and it provides a memorable human experience.
And in the days of relatively low priced digital cameras like the RED series, you can now mix excellent writing with cinematic film-making, to produce a great movie for very little money.
In general terms, Resolution tells the story of a guy who handcuffs his best friend to a water pipe in a remote cabin to force him to get off meth. The dialog between the two is often priceless and the addict, played by Vinny Curran, spits out one gem after another.
But the main character is Michael, who has decided to give his friend one last chance at surviving a terrible addiction. Waiting for a meth head to wake up or stop puking leaves him with free time to explore the junky, trailer strewn, hills around the cabin.
On his treks Michael finds different pieces of media, from discarded hard drives to worn out VHS tapes, that, when played, show a piece of his potential near future.
The haunting vibe of this piece will stay with you and the slow burn of a reveal builds to an excellent ending that leaves you wanting more — which you can get from the equally viby, disturbing sequel The Endless.
Both movies are highly recommended (but make sure to watch them in order, Resolution and then The Endless) for those horror film lovers who enjoy being creeped out without a lot of gore.