KO Review Lavender
A KO Review by Emily Mody
Lavender is a feature length horror film directed by Ed Gass-Donnelly. The story follows a wife and mother who experiences a traumatic accident, which causes her to lose her memory. With the hope of gaining her memory back, Jane (played by Abbie Cornish) decides to heed the advice given from her psychiatrist and visits her family home where she begins to see unexplainable and frightening things.
I really enjoyed Lavender. Watching this film was actually an unexpected and pleasant surprise. This film seems to be advertised as a horror film but it’s really not. There are certainly moments that were scary but it is, without a doubt, more so a thriller/drama. I thought that the discussion of how we, as human beings, deal with intense psychological trauma was particularly interesting. The mind has a way of protecting itself when the individual has experienced something intensely traumatic. I thought that the exploration of this concept through Jane’s character was particularly engaging. The acting was also excellent. I was so happy to see so many familiar faces in Lavender including Justin Long, Dermot Mulroney, and Diego Klattenhoff. The portrayal of the characters, particularly Jane, was so sincere and confident. Her story felt very real to me.
Lavender is very similar to the show American Horror Story. Both Lavender and American Horror Story are very similar in tone and themes. In Lavender, there is something more than just “horror” about the story and this is also true for American Horror Story. There are psychological aspects that are far more important and the horror and frightening scenes are used to advance the story. These moments are never just used for cheap thrills. These types of films and television shows take the horror that exists in the real world and places it in front of you. This is, perhaps, what is so seemingly terrifying about it. Although American Horror Story does embrace a lot of psychological elements I would say that this show has more comparisons to the horror genre than Lavender does. I really feel like Lavender is a purely psychological story that has frightening elements.
If there was anything that I had to say I didn’t like about Lavender, it would probably be that the story felt unoriginal. However, in North America where there is a new movie out every week I think it is unfair to claim this as much of a criticism. I think that, at least for me as an audience member, it is not mainly about the story anymore. It is more about how the story is told on film, how the actors portray their characters, and how the director makes the story his or her own. These are the things that matter most in a media landscape inundated with content that has all been seen and done before. I think Lavender achieved all three of these different aspects.
The film had its World Premiere earlier this year at theTribeca Film Festivalin New York and has also screened at theShanghai Film Festivalwith additional screenings coming up at theTorinoandHOFfestivals in Italy and Germany, respectively. Lavender recently screened at the Calgary International Film Festivaland theVancouver International Film Festival.
Lavender opens on Cineplex screens in Toronto (Yonge Dundas), Vancouver (The Park), Calgary (Eau Claire), Ottawa (South Keys), and Halifax (Park Lane) on Friday, November 4th, 2016. Check CalgaryMovies.com for local showtimes.