The Return (DVD)

Once you journey into the Hellmouth – there ain’t no coming back. Just ask Sarah Michelle Gellar, she’s been stuck in the land of goblins, ghouls and garish monsters for the better part of a decade now. And with her latest – though the title may delude – it’s evident that she’s still there.


Sarah Michelle Gellar, Adam Scott, Peter O’Brien, Kate Beahan, Sam Shepard

Once you journey into the Hellmouth – there ain’t no coming back. Just ask Sarah Michelle Gellar, she’s been stuck in the land of goblins, ghouls and garish monsters for the better part of a decade now. And with her latest – though the title may delude – it’s evident that she’s still there.

‘Buffy, the Vampire Slayer’ may have hang up her dagger, but the fox behind the combat boots, Sarah Michelle Gellar, is still out there doing the Slayer’s work for her – only this time, fighting the supernatural and anything else that goes ‘bump’ in the night, on the big screen.

From the moment the series wrapped, Gellar was straight into features that swam in the same river as her signature series – most evidently, “The Grudge” and its recent sequel – and though “The Return” is more about the everyday monster than the supernatural type, it’s still as dark as a greasy radiator cap, and for all intents and purposes, an extension of everything she’s done before.

So much for ‘thinking outside the box’, eh?

In her latest attempt to thieve Jamie Lee Curtis of her cinema scream-queen crown, Gellar plays a tough young Midwesterner determined to learn the truth behind the progressively more frightening supernatural visions that have been haunting her.

Joanna (Gellar) has a rather tumultuous private life, estranged from her father (Sam Shepard), stalked by an obsessed ex-boyfriend (Adam Scott), and with few friends, Joanna fears that she is losing control. Then, she sees and feels the murder of a woman she has never met – - and wouldn’t ya know it, Jo gets the eerie feeling that she may be next.

Even sadder than the rather slipshod script – very thin, with next to no good scares for horror buffs – is the fact that so many good actors have been wasted here. Spare a thought for the wonderful Adam Scott (“The Matador”) and sigh for the involvement of the always-solid Sam Shepard (“The Right Stuff”, “Paris Texas”), but more so, consider poor Peter O’Brien. Yep, that Peter O’Brien!

The veteran Australian actor thought he scored – as did we – big time with a leading role here, but it seems he’s done nothing more than guarantee himself a SAG membership. He was given more to do on an episode of “The Flying Doctors” – and that was when it wasn’t a centric-episode. And how’s this… they don’t even change his appearance for scenes that are set 15-years-earlier!

“The Return” is passable entertainment, but for Sarah Michelle Gellar it’s just another reason why she’s hoping the release date for “Southland Tales” – a black comedy in which she plays a porn star; in other words, the one that could revive her perturbed career – is moved up.

Extras include Some deleted scenes, an even sillier alternate ending than the one that is in the movie, and a fluffy EPK-style making of.

Rating :
Reviewer : Clint Morris