Title: The Returning

Also known as:
Witch Doctor

Year: 1983

Genre: Horror / Drama

Language: English

Runtime: 90 min

Director: Joel Bender

Writer: Patrick Nash

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0226378/

After a fatal accident takes the life of his son, a father begins to act out. Everyone around him assumes he's gone insane from grief but it's actually because he's become possessed by the spirit of a Native American. A spirit that's out for revenge.

Our thoughts:
Why the hell are we here?

Oh, that's right, because I'm a slobbering half-retarded clod who fumbles his way through movies and indiscriminately grabs a title and proclaims, without shame, "Dis looks good!" Only to scream, "Why the fuck did I watch this?!" roughly 90 minutes later.

Shortly after "finishing" the movie, I felt the need to share my discovery with Ronny. Here is the actual conversation that was had:

I didn't think it was possible but I found a movie so shitty that it managed to still be boring while I was fast-forwarding through it. I finally had to give up completely.

Which one?

The Returning (from the 80's). A guy's son dies so the guy becomes possessed by a Native American spirit and then spends a majority of the movie acting like a child. It doesn't make any sense.

I had no intentions of reviewing the movie but after receiving some encouragement to go through with it, I sat back on my couch and re-watched parts of it and finished the movie. After partially going through it a second time, the movie still doesn't make any sense.

The plot description I gave Ronny is not a grumpy, cynical based exaggeration on my part. I'm not kidding; the father spends probably a good 40 minutes of the movie acting like a child. Not even like his son; just a big dumb child (the kind of kid that if you actually saw would make you glad that it's not yours). That's all there is to the movie and those who proclaim that there is more are shamelessly trying to justify the fact that they like shit (I like shit movies too but at least I admit that they're shit). "The Returning" eventually attempts to clue the audience in on the slop that they arrogantly call a story by the end. Using poorly pieced together ideas of reincarnation and Native American mysticism they actually cause the movie to make even less sense then when it made no sense.

So the rock the son brought back with him contains the spirit of an Indian and that's what possessed the father? Then why does the father act like a child if he's possessed by a Native American? Was the spirit retarded? But wait, the guy who ran over the son talks about reincarnation and has psychic flashes of the accident before it happens and also flashes back to a former Indian tribe. So it's not a possession story but a story about the spirits of two men continuing their bloody feud in the form of two honkeys? Well no, it can't be a reincarnation story since part of the climax involves a medicine man performing an exorcism on a rock. So only the one guy was possessed? Was one possessed and the other one reincarnated? Was this whole thing some sort of supernatural destiny hog-wash or was it simply because the kid was run over?

How shitty is the writing that, no matter what answer you go with for the resolution, it creates massive holes in the logic and reasoning for everything that went on in the movie? At least in the beginning with the ambiguity and complete absence of thought allowed the movie to have a minor bit of interest to it because it left you to wonder about what it was that you were watching. Even if some of thoughts may have been along the lines of, "Surely I can't be watching a movie where a father shoves medical personnel away from his son who has just been run over by a truck…"

Wait…A father shoves the people away from his gravely injured child so he can aggressively embrace his body, possibly causing further damaged since his son could still be alive, but they don't know for sure because the people who can properly asses the situation aren't being allowed near the child?

Oh, fuck you. Fuck you in the worst possible way.

Where was I? Christ, I don't know and I'm not about to go back through my blithering nonsense, even if I did just type it. So I'll just say that "The Returning" is an incredibly boring and incredibly stupid movie, that becomes more awful with each passing moment where the movie tries to explain the vast emptiness where logic and reason should reside. There is nothing here. It's an empty shell of a movie where every part of it becomes an extraordinary example of failure. If the movie isn't being stupid, then it's boring. When it's not boring it goes right back to being stupid. It's almost like being on a möbius strip of dreadfulness except there is actually an end. However, if you make it to the end, you won't be a better person for it.

Positive things:
- One line in particular and only because of how poorly it was delivered: "Mother, call the goddamn fire department."
Negative things:
- It's idiotic.
- It's boring.
- It made no sense.
- It managed to make less sense as it went on.
- The characters were terrible.
- The acting was terrible.
- Had there been an actual story, it too, would have been terrible.
- Nothing happens.
- Something begins to happen but then it becomes stupid again to avoid making the mistake of being interesting.
- It made me hate myself just a little bit more.

Gore: 0/5
Nudity: 0.5/5
Story: 1/5
Effects: 2/5
Comedy: 0/5

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