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Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sarah Michelle Gellar - "The Return" Movie - DVD - Bostonherald.com Review

Tenley Woodman

Thursday 1 March 2007, by Webmaster

Brace for a slow ”Return”

Universal, $29.98, with featurette, deleted scenes and alternate ending, available. Grade: C

“The Return” is a sluggish suspense film riding on Sarah Michelle Gellar’s success in the “The Grudge” and her years as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

Geller plays Joanna, a 25-year-old traveling saleswoman haunted by unexplained visions of people only she can see. It’s a bit like “The Sixth Sense,” only not all of the people she sees are dead.

Joanna feels as if she is being hunted by a man, visible only to her, who calls her Sunshine. The terror she feels during these episodes is so intense, she avoids visiting friends and family in her native Texas, where these oddities began. That’s until she needs to close a big sale.

As soon as she crosses the state line, she regrets the decision.

Like “The Mothman Prophecies,” this film plays on the unexplained elements of daily life to create fear, only “Prophecies” did it better.

Joanna’s car stereo repeatedly plays a Patsy Cline song. In typical horror-film form, Joanna decides to follow her gut and visit the small town where she experienced her first vision as a child.

Good suspense films slowly reel viewers in and then up the tension.

“The Return” does this too slowly. Unlike the snappy plot development of such films as “The Grudge” or “The Sixth Sense,” “The Return” plugs along through scenes void of entertainment or information.

View the alternate ending at your own risk. Once you’ve finished the film, you’ll be happy to turn the DVD player off.