Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 16
  2. Negative: 6 out of 16
  1. 67
    It's more haunting than it has any right to be, thanks to its love of long, lonesome highways and the way the violence of the past bleeds into the present.
  2. 50
    The minimalist style keeps the suspense warm. The movie is unusual among teen horror flicks in that it largely avoids the usual cheap thrills and bursts of scare music. Instead, it carefully repeats isolated images and sound bites until they take on a shivery power.
  3. 50
    London-born director Asif Kapadia's second feature, following 2001's critically acclaimed "The Warrior," is a slow, low-key supernatural thriller whose story is too slender to justify its feature-length running time.
  4. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    As for Gellar, she seems game but glum, treading water in a role that represses her comic talents and leaves her little to do but suffer in silence.
  5. Reviewed by: Gregory Kirshling
    Mellow -- nay, snoozy -- atmospherics trump actual scares, and it makes almost zero sense.
  6. While Adam Sussman's screenplay can be admired for its emphasis on subtle atmospherics rather than cheap scares, it is a gimmicky slog of an affair that lacks narrative coherence or strong focus.
  7. Reviewed by: James Dyer
    A large step backwards for a promising director and far from the return we'd been hoping for.
  8. 40
    A welcome antidote to most of the crap that for passes today for horror and other supernaturally themed movies.
  9. You may see scarier movies this year, but none so redolent of decomposition.
  10. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    Forgettable PG-13 pic will particularly strike fans of harder-edged recent horror pix as much ado about not much.
  11. Since Adam Sussman's script is as lazy as Asif Kapadia's direction is disjointed, nothing ever makes sense, even after the anticlimatic explanation is revealed.
  12. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    As B-level suspensers go, though, The Return isn't actively awful -- just slow and cursed with a lead who acts with her t-shirt.
  13. Reviewed by: Jason Anderson
    Sarah Michelle Gellar is not faring well as a horror-movie scream queen. Gone are the attitude, wit and verve she used to routinely display in the title role of TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
  14. Reviewed by: Luke Y. Thompson
    The Return gets this year's award for most misleading poster, with its image of an empty-eyed, gray-skinned zombie/ghost that appears nowhere in the movie. You might, however, feel a little empty-eyed and zombie-like yourself after emerging from this languid story.
  15. Reviewed by: Staff (not credited)
    A soporific ghost story.
  16. At the heart of The Return is a murder that even the most bumbling homicide investigator could have solved in about 12 seconds.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 49 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 10
  2. Negative: 2 out of 10
  1. Feb 27, 2011
    What A Great Psychological Thriller!!
    The Whole Cast Is Great, The Music Is Very Good, And The Plot Is Very Fun To Follow!
    Sarah Michelle
    Gellar Show's Us She CAN Act! :) Full Review »
  2. Redlight
    Jun 5, 2007
    an absolute mess. striving to be this eerie, psychological thriller, the film instead winds up being a dull, vague disaster. one day, i hope Sarah Michelle Gellar will make a movie worthy of her talents. but with this and the grudge 2, just now it looks like she'll be the first one to sign up for the Buffy: 10 Years On tv series if it ever materialized. Full Review »
  3. Riren
    Mar 6, 2007
    The first half is like a rejected draft of a Silent Hill movie, while the second is a disappointingly illogical explanation for the first. Even the soundtrack wants more action out of the characters than they are willing to provide, and the acting is far too dull for all the shadows and shaky camera tricks to hide. The lack of thrills and content isn't made up for by the languishing suspense and bursts of ill-fitting violence. The Return is only recommended to horror/thriller lovers who want another odd plot to unravel in their spare time. Full Review »