with Sarah Michelle Gellar as Joanna Mills

Directors:    Asif Kapadia
Producers:     Aaron Ryder,Jeffrey Silver
Screenplay:     Adam Sussman
Co-starring:     Peter O'Brien, Alan Scott, and Sam Shepard
US Release Date:     November 10, 2006
Length:     85 minutes
Genre:     Mystery
Interesting Character Scale (Jill Robinson=0 Buffy Summers=10}:     eight
Best scene for Gellar:     Scene with father (Sam Shepard)

A traveling businesswoman begins to have nightmares about a murder that occurred 15 years previously. She returns to her hometown in Texas where her father (Sam Shepard) still lives. Soon she is drawn to an old farmhouse, where the murder took place.

Jeanette Catsoulis reviewed the film for The New York Times, and said in part:

"THE RETURN aims for mild creepiness rather than outright horror. Helping considerably is the German cinematographer Roman Osin, who gave last year’s 'Pride & Prejudice' its authentic 18th-century griminess. Here he captures the Texas locations with a subdued, greasy palette of browns and grays, so that almost everything on screen is the color of rotted wood. You may see scarier movies this year, but none so redolent of decomposition."

The Return poster This is a mystical mystery set in Texas. Be warned. This film makes about as much sense plot-wise as a Raymond Chandler novel. But like Raymond Chandler's work, the plot really doesn't matter. The Return makes creative use of perspective to illuminate the main character (Joanna Mills). The bleakness of the landscape is a bit depressing and it does not improve at the end even though Joanna solves her puzzle. The crossroads (which could be the same crossroads shown in Cast Away. It would be in the same general vicinity) is shown again at the end of the film, still bleak and desolate, not unlike the dust bowl of the 1930's. It seems to say that Joanna is still in the wilderness, but at least now she knows why.

The DVD (at least one version of it) includes "The Alternate Ending: Too Shocking for the Big Screen". The only difference I can see in the Alternate Ending is that Joanna and the dude drive off together into the sunset instead of having the film end before they decide on a direction. Shocking? Am I missing something? Now it could be that the murder victim who has been intermittently possessing Joanna finally takes over completely and comes back from the dead in Joanna's body. That still would not be shocking, but it would be stupid. We have no idea who this person is, so there is no reason to suppose that she is particularly evil. That character was not developed at all.

There is another sort of mystery about this film. Look at the picture below left: Top: how Guadalupe peak actually looks, and bottom: how it is shown in Return

On the bottom is the scene of Joanna driving across the Texas salt flat with Guadalupe Peak in the background. On the top is what Guadalupe Peak actually looks like from that viewpoint. Clearly the image of the peak is reversed in the film. The question is: Why and how did this happen? I think the effect of the shot is quite dramatic and the colour is great, but why is the background image reversed?

Peter O'Brien (Terry Stahl) was Cameron Roberts in "Queer As Folk". Adam Scott (Kurt) co-starred with Gellar in the HBO pilot THE WONDERFUL MALADYS.

The film was originally titled REVOLVER, but the title was changed when another film with that title was released in 2005. THE RETURN played in 1,986 theatres in the US before being released on DVD. It grossed $7,749,851.


Sarah Michelle Gellar - Joanna Mills
Darrian McClanahan
    - Young Joanna Mills
Peter O'Brien - Terry Stahl
Adam Scott - Kurt
Kate Beahan - Michelle
Sam Shepard - Ed Mills
J.C. MacKenzie - Griff
Erinn Allison - Annie
Peyton Hayslip - Laraine
Frank Ertl - Ambrose Miller
Brad Leland - Mr. Marlin
Bonnie Gallup - Bella
Krystal Morton - Dana
Brent Smiga - Higgins
Robert Wilson - Billy
Glori Renee Euwer - Nurse
Wally Welch - Snack Stand Vendor
Peter Cornwell - Tavern Cowboy
Karrie Cox - Bar Patron
Dan Murphy
    - Bar Patron & VW Bug Driver
Darryl K. Phipps - Dock Worker
Angela Rawna - Doctor
Dean Reading
    - Cattle Auction Buyer
Brittany Joyner - Nightclub Dancer
Michelle Brew - Club Dancer
Patricia A. Robinson - Club Patron
Isaac Rodriguez - Club Patron
Ava Santana - Club Dancer
Harry Santiago - Pool Player
Angela Ware - Club Dancer
Michele Williams - Office Manager
Katherine Willis - Mother
Erica Jones - Additional Voices
Daniel Zubiate - Red Bar Trucker


  • Staircase
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar
  • Floating perspective 3
  • The hanged  seahorse
  • The touched seahorse
  • Hiding  place
  • Realization
  • Crossroads
  • Look for the horizon
  • Talking to dad
  • Floating perspective 1
  • Research
  • Looking at something unseen
  • full screen slider
  • Hair  Munching by v6.4