Right from the start, something about Jane is…off.
Jane (Sucker Punch’s Abbie Cornish) travels down narrow backroads to photograph abandoned houses. She doesn’t have any real passion for her art, but she’s oddly attracted to broken-down pasts – she can’t explain why. Answers are vaguely revealed when Jane’s memory begins to open up after a terrible car accident. A local psychiatrist (Tusk’s Justin Long) issues suggestions to help Jane identify with her new thoughts, but his motivations may be running under a different agenda.
Director Ed Gass-Donnelly (The Last Exorcist Part II), unfortunately, complicates the narrative during the last third of the story he has written with Colin Frizzell – conclusions are wrapped up in ways that only assist the film’s style. However, everything else leading up to this problematic final leg is fantastic; from the unforgettable and unsettling turn by Cornish to the awe-inspiring cinematography by Brendan Steacy that either impresses us with a surprise stunt or chills us as Jane searches around dark corners.
There are things in Lavender that seriously creeped me out. The entire premise deals with facing an inevitable haunting storm as the walls close around your perception of reality. That defenceless inability to find refuge is what makes this horror/thriller work in spades.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie