Regression: A Scene from a Career in Decline

FADE IN:

 

EXT. DRIVE-IN THEATER – NIGHT

 

At a drive-in theater in the countryside near Alicante, a port on the southeastern coast of Spain, a MAN and a WOMAN are sitting on beach chairs in front of a beat-up old Renault Megane. They are only illuminated by the light from a Spanish dub of the movie Regression, which is playing on a huge screen in front of them.

MAN

So this film isn’t out yet in the United States?

WOMAN

No.

MAN

And it’s by the same guy who did The Others?

WOMAN

Yes. Alejandro Amenábar.

MAN

Maybe, if the US is lucky, it won’t come out there at all?

WOMAN

Yes.

 

There’s a long pause. Both continue to watch the film.

MAN

I really liked The Others.

WOMAN

Me too.

MAN

And his other movies too. Tesis was great.

WOMAN

Yes. I liked it too.

MAN

Shame.

WOMAN

Yes.

 

The MAN grabs a load of popcorn from a box to his right and stuffs it noisily into his mouth. Crumbs fall over his shirt without him noticing. He doesn’t offer any to the WOMAN. She glares at him before looking back at the screen.

WOMAN

Oh. Come on. I know twists are his big thing but this one is already so obvious.

MAN

Yeah. My Spanish is rubbish but isn’t he-

WOMAN

Yes. I think so.

MAN

And isn’t she-

WOMAN

Definitely. That’s definitely going to happen.

 

Some time passes. Images from the film flash across the faces of both audience members. Occasionally one takes up a can of coke that sits on the ground between them and sips from it. Nothing else happens.

 

WOMAN

All this crap about satanic cults- I mean, Emma Watson’s clearly doing her best, bless her, considering all the grief she gets for her acting, including from herself. This is as good as I’ve ever seen her, even with someone else doing all her dialogue for her in Spanish.

MAN

Yeah. She’s pretty good. Ethan Hawke’s not bad either.

 

More time passes. Things do happen on-screen but few of them are interesting or surprising.

WOMAN

Oh my god. It’s so slow.

(She draws out the syllables of “so” and “slow” until it seems like they will never end)

 

WOMAN (CONT’D)

His other movies were slow too, but I always felt like there was a point to it. It created tension. This is just ponderous.

 

Something incredibly gory happens on-screen. The WOMAN pauses to take a sip of coke.

WOMAN (CONT’D)

It’s impossible for them to generate any kind of tension. You already know what’s coming because you’ve already guessed the twist and you’ve already seen everything else a thousand times before anyway.

MAN

Yeah. You can’t make something scary when everyone already knows what’s going to happen.

WOMAN

I mean, it makes you feel really sorry for everyone involved. It’s so much like a TV movie. It’s like, every time I look at the screen, I’m surprised. I think: Wow. Why’s this TV so big? And how did it get into our living room? Oh god – is that Ethan Hawke in in this TV movie? Awww. What happened to him? He played Hamlet. I can’t believe he’s making stuff for Hallmark now. And David Thewlis too?!

MAN

…and then you remember where you are and what it is that you’re watching. Yeah. The same thing keeps happening to me.

WOMAN

I guess all of his movies are always a bit derivative though, aren’t they? Well, except maybe Abre los ojos and that one about the quadriplegic guy. You know. Javier Bardem. I mean, not Javier Bardem the quadriplegic guy. He played a quadriplegic guy.

She looks at the MAN. He shrugs.

 

WOMAN (CONT’D)

Oh, it doesn’t matter. I can’t remember. But this one? Wow. It’s just superderivative.

 

The MAN throws more popcorn into his mouth. More time passes. The predictions of the MAN and WOMAN come to pass. Neither bothers commenting on this. More time passes. The film ends.

FADE OUT.

 

 

THE END

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