The Resurrection of Charles Manson (2023)

Director: Remy Grillo

Running Time: 78 Minutes

Starring: Frank Grillo, Will Peltz, Sarah Dumont, Sydelle Noel, Jaime King, Katherine Hughes, Josh Plasse

My review of The Resurrection of Charles Manson was first published at Bloody Good Screen.

Is there much else which can be said about Charles Manson? The cult-leader, his subsequent lore, and the Tate-LaBianca murders have been the subject of many features including documentaries, Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, and even an early South Park Christmas special. By this point, one is left questioning what a new feature can add to this widely-covered subject, and the answer after watching this film is “Not much.”

Director Remy Grillo opens his feature with historical footage of the Manson trial, before transitioning to a terrified man on the run. He is chased by many other figures wearing white sheets, led by Robert (Frank Grillo) in a red suit which conveys his devilish figure. Whatever their reasons for these actions, the danger they represent for the unfolding tale is evident.

Viewers then meet Mitch (Josh Plasse) and Tianna (Katherine Hughes), a couple with plans to stay in an Airbnb for the weekend. While Tianna is focused on nailing her audition tape for a Charles Manson movie, Mitch intends to propose to his girlfriend. Those plans are thrown for a loop as the pair find themselves intertwined with an occult leader’s sinister plot, in a house where the ouroboros symbol is repeatedly seen.

Flashbacks highlight the couple’s history, as they met while attending a grief support group. While Mitch has found solace in his girlfriend and openly admits his love, Tianna is having more difficulties moving on as seen in her reactions to the romantic declarations. These inclusions are helpful in emphasizing character history to inform the present, although some instances feel distracting due to their forcible insertion.

For his directorial debut, Remy Grillo wants to elicit tension by highlighting people lurking around in the background, waiting to drastically alter the couple’s lives for their purposes. It is unfortunate this tension is not effectively delivered courtesy of repeated scenes which deflate the tension, as the story appears to spin its wheels until the sinister forces come forward to enact their titular plan.

There are interesting elements, such as how the cult members speak to “Charlie” as though they are seeking guidance from God, although it feels for naught in this tiresome picture. Perhaps it could feel less egregious had it not been another attempt to capitalise on this real-life horror story, although the sluggish pacing and unexciting sequences put that idea to rest. What’s left is a tale which is better off dead.