Lavender Review
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Many people end up haunted by something from their past: a person, an event, a relationship, a stupid mistake. But in the thriller Lavender, one troubled woman is haunted by horrific events that she’d long since forgotten—only to have everything come flooding back during a family trip.

Lavender follows a wife and mother as she struggles with the dark secrets hidden in her past. Twenty-five years ago, three members of the Ryer family were killed in their home; Jane (Abbie Cornish) was the only survivor. After strange hallucinations cause Jane to crash her car, aggravating an old head wound, she temporarily loses her memory. The hospital’s psychiatrist (Justin Long) encourages her to return to her childhood home to help her regain her memories—but once she arrives, she finds herself engulfed in memories of a terrifying night that she’d somehow forgotten.

With its layers of mystery and suspense—and its supernatural twist—Lavender seems to promise a chilling thriller. But, unfortunately, it never really comes together in a cohesive way. The opening scene is gripping—offering audiences just a glimpse of Jane’s dark past—but it loses much of that momentum once it skips ahead to catch up with grown-up Jane.

So much about the film feels not quite right—from simple things, like the fact that Jane and her family decide to spend the weekend in a house that’s been abandoned for decades (even after Jane is informed that her entire family died there), to more fundamental things, like the confusing supernatural aspects. The story never really comes together. Some parts are maddeningly predictable, while others just don’t make much sense.

Cornish, meanwhile, feels just a little too generic, as if the casting director had been hoping to get Charlize Theron or maybe even Katherine Heigl but was forced to settle for someone who looks a little bit like them. There’s nothing about Cornish that really stands out—just as there’s nothing about her character that seems especially compelling. In fact, even in the character’s better times, she’s rather bland and emotionless. And she fails to make the film more than an eerie but rather sleepy thriller.

Lavender definitely had plenty of promise. The story is intriguing, and the remote old farmhouse setting could have given the film just the right creepy boost. But the generic cast and unfocused writing make it a film that will soon vanish from audiences’ memories, too.

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