Lavender (2017)


lavender releaseposter - Lavender (2017)Starring Abbie Cornish, Diego Klattenhoff, Justin Long, Dermot Mulroney

Directed by Ed Gass-Donnelly

Lavender deals with the after effects of personal tragedy and how it shapes who you are, even if you don’t always remember who you really were. Through memory loss, the story reveals an old mystery that winds up being more haunting than the pain of never knowing the real truth.

Director Ed Gass-Donnelly has crafted a well-constructed ghost story where the living have the potential to be more dangerous than tormented souls trapped in limbo. Still, there may not be enough memorable moments for those looking for a satisfying conclusion that’s worth the slower character beats seen in Lavender.

The one-word title certainly isn’t as ominous as something like Insidious, but once the backstory is fleshed out, it suddenly doesn’t seem as innocuous. The title offers a clue to help Jane (Cornish), a disconnected mother and wife who finds comfort in photography, start to uncover the truth behind a murderous night in her childhood. As the sole survivor, Jane doesn’t snap into action until a sudden car accident causes a form of amnesia that leads her to track down her long lost uncle, Patrick (Mulroney), who has taken over the property where she grew up. A psychiatrist (Long) also tries to nurse Jane back to health, but he seems a little too invested in her recovery. As Jane gets closer and closer to the truth, she uncovers a frightening family secret.

The setup for Lavender takes a little too long to fully develop, but once the story returns to the rundown farm of Jane’s past, the scenes between Cornish and Mulroney look to have a lot of layers that are ready to be peeled back. The problem is there just aren’t enough scenes and dialogue with the two of them, and Mulroney’s limited screen time lessens the impact of an unfolding mystery as the story digs in. Jane’s husband and daughter are used instead to provide the family conflict when one withdraws from the situation while the other is pulled deeper into the secrets of the house.

Once the larger reveals and twists come out into the light, Lavender fails to make their emotional impact be felt fully, mostly due to how suddenly they emerge. Although beautifully shot and constructed, the major mysteries conflict with each other and seem to be taken from two separate films: one that deals with the loss of family connection and one that falls into more familiar genre tropes. Two different endings combine to form one that doesn’t entirely feel earned, but that doesn’t stop Lavender from succeeding in more ways than it backfires.

Lavender is in theaters today and is also available on VOD and Digital HD (watch it on Amazon).

  • Film
User Rating 3.43 (7 votes)


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