Michael Danube (Peter Cilella) is a man with a mission. Today he gets up early in the morning and kisses his wife goodbye as she wishes him luck, then drives out to an isolated patch of countryside to meet an old friend. That's not the mission: he actually wants to save his pal Chris Daniels (Vinny Curran) from himself. Chris has in recent months hit the downward spiral of addiction to crystal meth, and by this stage has wound up in a half-finished cabin on an Indian reservation - though it does at least have a door and a roof - with his pipe, his meth and a selection of firearms. His drug-fuelled paranoia has led him to shoot at the local birds, so the first thing Mike has to do is get that pistol off him...
Resolution had the slight disadvantage of being released around the same time as the bigger budget meta-horror Cabin in the Woods, which stole its thunder to an extent. In this case, directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead were working on a tiny amount of money by comparison, with largely one location to achieve their aims, that shack where most of the action took place. Initially it did not set out to look like a chiller at all, indeed it could be any number of American indie two-handers as Mike handcuffs Chris to a pipe and informs him this is an intervention that will only end once Chris has kicked his habit, mainly because his friends care about him and want to see him survive.
They also don't like what his dependency has turned him into, so if you knew nothing about the plot (not a bad way to approach this, incidentally) this was playing out as a gritty drug drama more than what it transformed into so gradually that once the scares began they had truly crept up on you. That was not to say there was no sense of dread, for elements are introduced that have you guessing where the outside threat will be hailing from: will it be the drug dealers who Chris owes cash to, not to mention a big bag of meth he has managed to lose in his haze? Or what about those Indian security men who are not making them feel welcome in the least? More wacky than that, could there be a menace from members of a UFO-worshipping cult nearby?
Or perhaps the real threat is to do with someone else watching? What do they want? That appears to be a good story, as you will find yourself hoping for as you view Resolution, with that title being a very significant part of what will make one. Every so often, as if in a computer game where the programmer is leaving objects for the characters to find to get them to the next level, Mike will find something that indicates there is more to this than meets the eye, objects of media such as photographs, slides, moving up the technological scale towards a streaming video on a laptop near the grand finale, all indicating the two men are being observed, and more than that, recorded - but to what purpose? That turns out to be the simplest purpose of all when it comes to watching a film.
With a plotline so arch, the temptation might have been to deliver the whole movie with a single, metaphorical raised eyebrow or even worse, winks to the audience so long lasting they would look like a nervous tic by the point the credits rolled. But Benson and Moorehouse opted for something more involving, reasoning nobody would give a fig if their duo of leads were crafted from the thinnest cardboard, so helped immensely by the stars who conjured genuinely three-dimensional personalities, more dimensional than the usual fodder horror flicks leaned towards, the results were that curious combination of intriguing use of genre staples with a depth of interest in the folks acting them out. Not that the scares were neglected, with such freakiness as Mike starting awake in the night to see a face at the window staring at him, tapping on the glass - you think instances as that are not explained, but the close of the story explains it all in a paradoxically needy plea to the audience that they were getting what they wanted, right? For what it was, ingenious and innovative, even thoughtful.