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‘Lavender’ (review)

Produced by Ed Gass-Donnelly, David Valleau
Written by Colin Frizzell, Ed Gass-Donnelly
Directed by Colin Frizzell
Starring Abbie Cornish, Dermot Mulroney,
Justin Long,
Diego Klattenhoff, Peyton Kennedy,
Lola Flanery, Sarah Abbott,
Mackenzie Muldoon

 

A farmer is informed that his brother’s family has been slaughtered save for his young niece, who remembers nothing of the incident.

Cut to 25 years later and said niece has a family of her own, with husband Alan and her young daughter Alice.

The grown woman, Jane, has her seemingly normal life disrupted by unexplained visions and half-glimpsed memories, culminating in a life-changing car wreck which leaves her with partial amnesia.

Upon the advice of her therapist, well-played by Justin Long, she goes back to her old family home and reconnects with her uncle in an attempt to remember that horrible night from her childhood and begin healing.

Fairly routine mindbender certainly has its moments, with some creepy WTF scenes and shots and some extremely stylish direction.

Unfortunately, the script is sluggish and the payoff, while satisfying, is far from earth-shattering or even surprising.

The big plus here is the acting. Dermot Mulroney is his usual professional self as the affable uncle, and the child actors are excellent.

But Abbie Cornish as the grown-up Jane really stands out. She captures the frustration, rage, fear and confusion of her character seemingly effortlessly.

It’s a compelling performance that smooths over the rough spots.  We really want to find out what happens to her, even when she’s acting like a lunatic or a maniac.

There’s nice location work here, which helps a lot as well.  From the hay bale maze to the old houses with wrap-around porches to the huge fields and small roads, Lavender does a fine job of realizing a rural atmosphere.

The climax is interesting and suspenseful, but as mentioned earlier, nothing to write home about.  I was hoping for a shocking, out-of-left-field revelation, but twas not to be.

There’s not much new here for fans of uncanny thrillers, but the film has nice production value, good-to-great acting, some suspenseful scenes and style to spare.

It’s perfect viewing on a slow night with lowered expectations.  I know, hardly a rave, but one could certainly do far worse.

 

Lavender is currently airing exclusively on DISH
and arrives in theaters and VOD on March 3, 2017

 

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