REVIEW: Lavender (2017)

lavender

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2017, AMBI Media Group/Samuel Goldwyn Films/South Creek Pictures/3 Legged Dog Films

Director:
Ed Gass-Donnelly
Producers:
Ed Gass-Donnelly
David Valleau
Writers:
Colin Frizzell
Ed Gass-Donnelly
Cinematography:
Brendan Stacey
Editing:
Dev Singh

Cast:
Abbie Cornish (Jane)
Dermot Mulroney (Patrick)
Justin Long (Liam)
Diego Klattenhoff (Alan)
Lola Flanery (Alice)
Sarah Abbott (Susie)
Peyton Kennedy (Young Jane)

From the director of The Last Exorcism Part II comes this drama that takes a supernatural turn for a young woman who must uncover her past to move forward.

Jane is a photographer who takes her daughter Alice on her excursions. Her marriage with Alan is on the rocks. Jane photographs old houses in order to discover the history behind them. One fateful day, while on one of her excursions, she slowly begins to hear voices as does Alice, who seemingly pretends to be talking to an imaginary friend. On her way home from an interview, Jane envisions a little girl on the road and ends up in a car accident.

Suffering massive trauma, she is treated by local doctor Liam, who after doing research, learns Jane was adopted. Jane discovers her Uncle Patrick is alive and lives out in a farmland, where her childhood home is located. Jane decides to head back to her childhood home and brings Alan and Alice with her in an attempt for reconciliation. There, Jane soon finds clues that could lead her to a shocking discovery about her childhood.

Ed Gass-Donnelly, the director of The Last Exorcism Part II, brings this film to life and adds a bit of old school M. Night Shyamalan in the mix in a very intricate tale of a young woman who returns to her childhood home and discovers that not only has it affected her personal life today, but clues that lead to her discovering a very dark secret. What Gass-Donnelly and co-writer Colin Frizzell add to the mix that brings that Shyamalan element in the film is the appearance of a mysterious little girl who appears out of nowhere, as a guide of sorts to both our protagonist and her daughter.

Abbie Cornish’s Jane truly seems like a fragmented soul whose work in photography is the only thing that keeps her sanity intact. It is because she subconsciously hides a dark childhood secret that serves as the basis for the film. It is her car accident that pushes that memory back out and leads to her return to her childhood home to discover what the secret is. The film’s twists and turns, and there are quite a few, seem to play mind games with the viewer but done in such a way that it actually works, especially when the big reveal at the end brings a Shyamalan-like twist and we mean in his old school manner, in which he brought back with his recent film Split.

The supporting cast is quite interesting, including Justin Long, whose doctor Liam seems to have more knowledge than he lets up and Dermot Mulroney’s Patrick, whose reunion with Jane helps her cope in a way as she finds him as the only solace in terms of her childhood. Diego Klattenhoff’s Alan may seem like an unnecessary figure at times but he is actually an essential figure in terms of helping Jane come back to reality when the mind games begin. Lola Flanery deserves major kudos in her role of Alice, who is more or less the bridge between reality and fantasy with the appearance of the little girl. Alice sometimes seems a bit possessed at times by said little girl, whose identity is quite a reveal of its own.

Lavender is truly a film that will mess with your mind as you will keep guessing what is going on. Abbie Cornish and Lola Flanery truly get props for their roles as the mother and daughter and a nice Shyamalan-like twist that works just right for this film.

WFG RATING: A-

The film will be getting its release in theaters, Video on Demand, and Digital HD on March 3 from Samuel Goldwyn Films and AMBI Media Group.

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