I have read several reviews from different sites, claiming that this film was confusing. Why it is confusing to people completely eludes me, because the end of the film explains everything perfectly. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The film starts at an amusement park. A father (Sam Shepherd) and his daughter Joanna have just been in a car accident. Almost immediately, the girl begins acting strangely, seeing a mysterious man who isn't there. All he wants to do is talk to her. This may seem bizarre at first, but it gives you the first clue to an unfolding story about a woman running from her past.
As an adult, Joanna (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is a salesperson. She likes her job because it keeps her ahead of whatever evil seems to be chasing her. Even though she has sworn off territory in Texas, she changes her mind. This trip brings her into contact with an old friend and her father. The longer she remains in Texas, the more her strange "visions" or dreams take hold of her. She eventually finds herself pulled to La Salle, Texas, where she encounters a man whose wife was murdered years before.
I won't reveal the ending, but suffice it to say that the reason some viewers may be having trouble deciphering this film is because it is rooted in Eastern religion. Life isn't linear, but cyclical.
I found the film to be deeply moving. Sure, the pacing is languid like the Texas heat, but it allows the story to unfold. There also isn't a heavy metal soundtrack and young photo-perfect pin-ups crying while some masked madman tortures and then kills them.
Horror film fanatics seem to fall into two camps: those who like axe wielding maniacs and those who like atmospheric ghost stories. I prefer the latter. To be honest, my stomach was in knots throughout "The Return," because the director creates an undeniable sense of doom.
If you enjoy Japanese or Korean horror films - heavy on atmosphere and unsettling imagery - you'll enjoy "The Return." If your cup of tea is "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", you'll do yourself a favor and skip this one.