Monday, January 30, 2017

Don't Hang Up (2017)








DIRECTORS:

Damien Mace
Alexis Wajsbrot

WRITER: Joe Johnson

CAST:

Gregg Sulkin
Garrett Clayton
Sienna Guillory
Bella Dayne
Parker Sawyers
Jack Brett Anderson
Robert Goodman

CAST:

A group of four friends who like to record prank videos and upload them to the web take it one step too far when they end up pranking a mother and her child who are alone in their home, and it ends in a horrible tragedy. Still, the four friends continue to record their prank videos and make prank phone calls, only this time, they prank-call the wrong person who has all their information, and they decide to play a deadly game with the four friends.







When Don't Hang Up started, I wasn't sure what to expect from the film. The movie opens with a somewhat creepy scene that involves a police officer calling a woman in the middle of the night telling her not to panic and that there are two intruders in her house. I know this is a stretch and probably wouldn't happen unless this woman had called them first but this opens the film in a pretty terrifying way. I can't lie that this opening scene sent chills down my spine. I could only imagine if this happened to a person in real life, your heart would stop from fear.

The movie suddenly reveals that this is all a prank and we are introduced to our four mates who are all internet famous for their prank videos. Once we are introduced to these four frat boys, and douche canoes, we get a sense that they don't give a crap about much else other than drinking, sleeping with girls and pranking poor people in the most mean-spirited of ways. I'm talking; they tell a father that his daughter has been killed in a car crash on the freeway. It makes these four guys rather unlikable almost immediately.

Things take a turn for the worst very quickly. Don't Hang Up doesn't waste much time in revealing our creepy caller who starts laying out his sinister plan for two of the four frat boys. At this point, we are told that this unknown caller knows pretty much every single thing about these guys. He knows what they do for work, where they live, who they are dating, who their families are and what their phone numbers are. Before the sun rises the next morning, this guy is going to destroy their lives and put these four guys through hell, and he does. No one ends up being safe.

Don't Hang Up feels like a mix of Road Kill and Phone Booth. The setting is set in this one house for most of the running time and these two guys being two frat boys who get in way over their heads after they make a prank call. The movie follows a pretty predictable formula for the most part. I wasn't exactly shocked by any of the twists and could see a lot of the little reveals coming from a mile away, but I actually had fun with this film. It's not original nor is it precisely good but for the entire eighty minutes, this is pretty mean-spirited and at times bloody.

The best element of the film is how stylized this movie looks. I think the directors of Don't Hang Up sat down and watched every David Fincher movie and took tips from his films. This looks so similar to Panic Room in the way it is filmed that it borders on more than a homage. The film is filled with these long fluid tracking shots that move up through floorboards or out of windows and through everyday objects around the house. Being a big fan of David Fincher, I just enjoyed how slick a lot of this movie appeared. They used every nook and cranny of this house.

Concerning tension, suspense and scares, I think Don't Hang Up has a couple of solid moments. The opening scene is a solid start for the film. I was genuinely creeped out and think it has a reasonably eerie start. I think the film ramps up the suspense in a few scenes in the second act, but they are never as good as the opening scene. The movie loses tension in the third act where a couple of scenes just become silly, and I was rolling my eyes. One scene involving a character being sent out with his hands bound with a knife and his mouth is duct taped which has been done so many times in the past, and it ends up getting this one character killed had me more annoyed than anything else.

I think where the movie missed an opportunity was to show how prank videos and trolling on the internet affects a lot of people. They could have driven this element home and been a lot more topical as it's a significant issue. We do get glimpses of how stuff like this can have horrible consequences, but they focused a lot more on style over substance. While that's a lot of fun, I think they could have tried to blend the two more. This is a horror movie, though so I can see them wanting to stick with just the whole revenge plot at the film's core.

Lastly, the acting is decent for the most part. I have seen Garrett Clayton in the true story King Cobra where he went a lot further with his performance. Here he plays the douche bag mate, but by the film's end, I had come around to their whole bromance. Gregg Sulkin is also great as our main character. He is the standout in this movie. At first, I didn't even realise that Sienna Guillory was our opening scene character. She looked so much different in this film than she did in the Resident Evil franchise. Her performance while short was great as well.







DEATH TOLL: 8

BLOOD AND GORE:

- Two people are shown tied up and beaten.
- Someone is suffocated with a plastic bag.
- Someone is shown hanging by the neck from a wire.
- When the wire is removed their throat splits open.
- Someone is shot in the head.
- Someone shoots themselves.
- A child is shot.
- Someone is stabbed in the stomach.
- Two people are shown dead on video.







Don't Hang Up is style over substance. This movie uses every second of it's running time to show us these long, gorgeous fluid tracking shots and camera angles. I can't deny that I was impressed with the way this film looked. The acting is decent for the most part. The movie sadly could have gone a lot further with its themes about the dangers of prank videos and trolling on the internet or even with the gore. The film isn't great by any means and is pretty predictable, but I can't say that I didn't have fun with the movie in the end.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Bornless Ones (2017)








DIRECTOR: Alexander Babaev

WRITER: Alexander Babaev

CAST:

Margaret Judson
Devin Goodsell
Michael Johnston
Mark Furze
Bobby T
David Banks
Gwen Holloway
Nick Saso
Rob Tepper

PLOT:

With the help of her two friends, Emily, and her boyfriend, Jesse have just purchased a remote cabin in the woods so they can take care of her younger brother, Zach who suffers from Cerebral Palsy. As they begin exploring the cabin, they start to notice the strange religious icons on all of the boarded-up windows. Once the group removes all the symbols, they begin to experience something far worse than they could have ever imagined. Dark forces start to take possession of the group of friends.







Here we have another 2017 horror film that I had no idea even existed. I decided to watch it after I realised it was released earlier this month. Going into the movie, I had no idea what to expect as I hadn't seen a trailer or any clips for the film. I was going in blind and ready to enjoy the movie. Did things turn out that way? Sadly, no. It's a movie that has its moments, but it, unfortunately, can't entirely escape that feeling that we've seen this all before. I think this is going to get a lot of comparisons to another specific 'cabin in the woods' film.

Immediately after the Bornless Ones had finished, my first thought was that director Alexander Babaev must be a massive fan of the Evil Dead series. This movie feels so similar at times to both Sam Raimi's original masterpiece and even the Fede Alvarez's remake that I couldn't help but think that Alexander may have grown up or even has an attachment to the Evil Dead franchise. His own film feels like it borrows heavily or plays like an almost homage to those movies depending on who you end up asking after they've seen this film.

What the Bornless Ones does differently in it's set up in getting the characters to our cabin in the woods is that instead of it being a vacation or a group of friends trying to ween a character off drugs. This group are trying to take care of the main characters younger brothers who suffers from Cerebral Palsy. They have purchased this cabin as they want to be able to have a bigger place for her disabled brother. I think the setup is probably the best element of the story as it sort of grounds the first act of the film in reality before all hell breaks loose.

I also found that I actually enjoyed this group of characters in the earlier stages. The film also delivers the jokes swiftly. We also get quite a sweet bond between this group of friends. I enjoyed the hardship of taking care of the disabled teenager also loomed over the characters in the first act. It sort of lends the film this moralistic crossroads when the handicapped character is possessed by demons but should all of the other characters kill him when bad stuff starts to happen? With all of the characters already bickering over the hardship of taking care of him, is it easier to just end his suffering? I thought that was a nice touch.

The film on a violence and carnage level will keep horror fans happy. This is bloody. Is it Fede Alvarez 'Evil Dead' gory? No, but this movie has enough blood and carnage to keep this horror fan happy. The film does really shy away from any of the nasty stuff. A scene where a female character kills her unborn child is some pretty ugly stuff as is the constant onslaught of characters who have been possessed who end up stabbing and maiming each other beyond recognition. It very much reminded me of the type of carnage that Fede Alvarez was going for with his remake, just on a lower budget.

What Bornless Ones does wrong is that this movie builds to a third act and has about eight false endings. Just when you think the character has ended this night of horror, a character jumps up and proceeds to beat and attack the surviving character who you think has just been killed off. This happens so many times that by the third or fourth time, I was over it. I just wanted the film to end at this point. It also doesn't help that these false endings which drag on and on making this very short hour and twenty minutes feel like a three-hour film.

Another thing that didn't work for me was the creature design and effects. I get that this movie is low budget and I admire them for trying but halfway through the film when the characters start getting possessed by these demons, we have a scene with smoke-like humanoid creatures. They dispatch of one character outside the cabin but are never really seen or heard from again. It feels like it has no connection to these demonic creatures that possess the characters inside the cabin which basically just look like deadites. We also have some exposition early on about symbols on all the boarded up windows that are revealed to be protective symbols to keep bad things out, this was also extremely predictable.

Lastly, the acting in the movie is pretty decent. I think the entire cast worked well together. I believed that these four people were actual friends. The chemistry worked for the most part. My biggest issue with the performances is our main star, Margaret Judson. I think at times because her character is dealing with a disabled brother, her character becomes a little tiring. She seems to whinge for the sake of it but never try to do anything about it. This falls back on the way the character is written I'm sure. The cast works, though even with this fault.







DEATH TOLL: 6

BLOOD AND GORE:

- A woman is stabbed in the neck.
- A child stabs herself in the stomach.
- Both mother and daughter are killed by a shotgun blast.
- A guy is consumed by a smoke monster and killed.
- A woman cuts her unborn baby out of her stomach.
- Someone is repeatedly hit with a log of wood.
- A fire poker to the neck, stomach, and head.
- Someone is stabbed in the eye with a screwdriver.
- Someone is stuck in the head with a screwdriver.
- A fetus is shown wrapped in plastic and covered in blood.
- Someone drills a plank of wood into the leg so they can stand.
- Someone is stabbed in the stomach.
- Someone is smacked in the head with a plank of wood with a nail in it.
- A doctor is stabbed with a pen.
- A woman is stuck in the stomach.
- A bloody demon bursts out of a bag.







The Bornless Ones is a movie that falls just short for me. The film has it's moments, though. We have some solid gore and violence. The cast of characters, for the most part, are pretty likable and the movie is quite funny in the first act. The movie has problems, though. We have a pretty predictable reveal, the movie also feels long for it's short running time and the film has about eight false endings. It seems to never want to end. I think many people will compare this movie to Evil Dead as it feels very similar in parts.


Friday, January 27, 2017

Havenhurst (2017)








DIRECTOR: Andrew C. Erin

WRITERS:

Andrew C. Erin
Daniel Farrands

CAST:

Julie Benz
Danielle Harris
Fionnula Flanagan
Matt Lasky
Josh Stamberg
Belle Shouse
Douglas Tait
Dendrie Taylor
Toby Huss
Jennifer Blanc-Biehn

PLOT:

Jackie is a recovering alcoholic. She recently lost her daughter when she chose to get behind the wheel of a car and drove while under the influence. Her addiction cost her, her only daughter's life. Her close friend Danielle who is also a recovering addict has recently relapsed disappears without a trace. Jackie moves into her old apartment in an apartment complex known as Havenhurst which helps recovering addicts. So the only rule is that if you relapse while in Havenhurst, you'll be evicted. Jackie will soon realise that being evicted may cost her, her life.







Looking at the poster for Havenhurst, I was under the impression that I was about to watch a very cheap, low-budget, supernatural horror movie about a haunted asylum. The name of the film screams haunted mental institution. I hadn't watched the trailer or heard anything about it before sitting down to watch it. I thought the budget would probably match what the marketing team have spent on the poster. This is where that great old saying comes into play. You should never judge a book by its cover. Because I was completely wrong on this one.

As the opening credits began to roll for Havenhurst. I noticed that the studio behind the film was Twisted Pictures. They are responsible for the entire SAW series. They are also responsible for releasing Repo! The Genetic Opera, Texas Chainsaw 3D and the brilliant remake of Mother's Day. So I was already eating my words at this point. Then came the title of tomandandy who were doing the score for the film. I own both The Rules Of Attraction and The Hills Have Eyes remake soundtracks which they were responsible for. I was now very excited, and the movie hadn't even started yet.

Once the movie starts, it opens with Danielle Harris. An icon of horror and one of the greatest scream queens of this generation. She is doing drugs, her boyfriend is killed in extremely bloody fashion, and she goes out in a Drew Barrymore 'Scream' styled opening. I thought she was going to be around for the entire running time, but she barely gets more than three minutes of screen time. It's quite the shocking opening scene. I've probably hyped it up a little too much. It's not overly gory or violent, but I expected to see her on screen for a lot longer.

The movie then introduces us to the great Julie Benz. She plays Jackie, a recovering addict and a woman who is suffering because her addiction cost her own daughters life. She knows she is the reason why her daughter is dead. She is a character that I was immediately rooting for. She is also a sensible woman. She seems to contact the police every time something goes wrong and does things any rational person in peril would do. I also liked that she seemed tough. Her grief seemed to have given her strength and served her well.

Havenhurst felt like a mixture of The Toolbox Murders meets The Collection. The only difference is that the residents of this building are all recovering addicts and they pay with their lives if they end up relapsing. I think the killer taking out all the residents in the apartment block felt very Toolbox Murders in the way the complex is wired up. It also felt sort of like The Collection with touches of SAW. I think the way the residents were being dispatched felt hit and miss. As the film progressed, they get gorier and more enjoyable but early on it just seemed a little light on the viscera.

The most enjoyable moment of the film is the twist in the third act. Yesterday, I had reviewed the captive horror film, All I Need. I had mentioned how I enjoyed the little twist on the Elizabeth Bathory story. This will be a [SPOILER]: Here we have another movie that injects an old serial killer twist into the story that I didn't personally see it coming. I also enjoyed this little twist. They connect the film to the H.H. Holmes case which was one of the first ever documented serial killers. He built a maze-like hotel so he could kill and torture people in it and they would never find a way out or be found. I thought this played nicely at the end of the movie.

What didn't work for me was there are moments and characters that are just there to be killed. They are there to add a body count. This means that we really don't care for a lot of these victims. As recovering addicts, we should have some understanding and even compassion for these people when they relapse, but we don't. We also don't get much in the way of a backstory for Fionnula Flanagan's character. She plays a tenant who signs all leases and is secretly an evil old bitch. I think I would've liked to see a connection to H.H. Holmes. The movie ends on a dark note that I felt it didn't need. We also have this final little reveal that I saw coming from a mile away, and I pretty much rolled my eyes.

When it comes to the scares and suspense in Havenhurst, I thought the movie had a couple of incredibly creepy moments. There is an extremely solid jump scare early on that made me jump out of my seat. It's so cleverly constructed and timed that I just didn't expect it, so when it happens, it was pretty darn effective. The movie has a few chase scenes that were a lot of fun. I think once we get into the walls of the complex, things got more fun. The movie isn't overly suspenseful, but it's a fun ride.

Lastly, the acting needs a mention. I have seen Fionnula Flanagan in two movies quite recently. First I watched her in Trash Fire and now Havenhurst. She plays a wicked old lady who is evil but has a class about her in both of the films, and she is terrific. Here, Danielle Harris is in a blink, and you'll miss it opening scene but does a lot with a little and Julie Benz is our central star here and I dig her as an actress. There is this scene towards the end between her and Fionnula that I thought was gonna turn into a scrag fight but it never entirely goes to that place. All the actresses are excellent in their respective roles.







DEATH TOLL: 5

BLOOD AND GORE:

- Someone slips over in a pool of blood.
- A man is seen dead on the floor with his eyes removed.
- Someone is dragged up into an elevator shaft.
- A woman is kicked down a hole to her death.
- Someone is stabbed in the hand with scissors.
- Fingers are chopped off.
- A man is shown ripped in half and still alive.
- Intestines are pulled out of someone's stomach.
- A woman's face is splashed with acid.
- A child is seen in a burning car.









Havenhurst surprised me. I went into this movie thinking I was going to absolutely hate it. It turns out that I had a half decent time with the film. The movie is far from perfect. It has a lot of issues but what I did enjoy was the little twist in the third act, all the actresses deliver excellent performances, we have a few very surprising jump scares and some solid gore. I could think of a lot worse ways to spend a swift eighty-four minutes.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

All I Need (2017)








DIRECTOR: Dylan K. Narang

WRITER: Dylan K. Narang

CAST:

Caitlin Stasey
Markus Taylor
Rachel Melvin
Leah McKendrick
Sorel Carradine
JT Vancollie
Katie Owsley
Holly Twyford

PLOT:

Chloe awakens to find herself bound and gagged in a room. She only has her bra and panties on and is hogtied. Chloe soon comes to the scary realisation that she's been kidnapped and held captive in a room, she is not the only one. There are many more young women who are in the same situation. Across town, a desperate man is trying to make money so he can better the life of his young daughter. Little do they realise that they are both connected by a mysterious killer.







Looking at the rather impressive poster for All I Need. I went into this thinking I was about to witness another slasher film. We have the group of terrified looking women and a towering killer holding a massive, bloody weapon. I was pumped and ready for another stalk and slash. Devoting an entire year to the slashers of the seventies and eighties, you'd think I'd want something different from my current horror movies, but I can't deny that I still get a kick out of those contemporary slashers as well.

As I began to watch All I Need, it became apparent that this wasn't a slasher at all. All I Need opens just like the pivotal turning point in the Australian Horror film Wolf Creek. You know, that scene where everyone is fine and dandy around the campfire and our main character wakes up in the AM, and as the camera slowly pans back, it's revealed that our character is hogtied and Mick Taylor is actually a vicious serial killer and taken the three main characters captive? All I Need opens in the same way. When Caitlin Stasey's Chloe awakens, and it's revealed that she is in fact bound and gagged in a small room and being held, prisoner.

This movie is a bit of a weird one. It's a movie that has two parallel stories going at the exact same time. So for most of the running time, I was sitting their confused as I wasn't sure what is happening in this movie. In one subplot, we have Caitlin Stasey, and a bunch of girls who are being held captive and one by one are being dragged off by what appears to be a serial killer. The other is a father who is trying to make a life for his twelve-year-old daughter, so he's doing package runs for a mysterious Russian man who calls him on the phone and requests that he does jobs around town. It's all very confusing in the first two acts.

All I need spends its very short running time jumping between Chloe trying to find ways out of this small hotel room while helping the other young women who are also being held captive, to try and escape their fates. At the same time, every single time we switch back to the father and daughter subplot, I thought it killed pretty much all tension in the movie. His story is depressing and dull. So half the movie is spent with the guy wallowing with this father character and the mysterious Russian phone caller. I found myself really connecting and enjoying the Caitlin Stasey subplot, though.

Even though I enjoyed the Caitlin Stasey moments more than the father plot. I have to say that some of the character decisions on the women's parts were pretty idiotic. Also, there are several moments that play really questionable. The fact that Chloe can move a considerable side cabinet by herself, but the towering killer can't push a door open with the cabinet there, it all played really dumb. The big highlight of the Caitlin Stasey subplot is a moment involving a pitchfork and an air vent. It gets gruesome and pretty bloody.

The third act and twist reveal are what made this movie really different for me. This is where the movie gets most of its points as well. There is a little reveal at the end that ties both of these stories together. [SPOILERS] It is revealed that the father has been hired to drain these young women of their blood. A wealthy older woman is using the blood to bathe in so she can retain her youth. It throws this intelligent little 'Elizabeth Bathory' type reveal in at the end, and I really dug it. I enjoyed it for the simple fact that I didn't see it coming. Whoever says they did is lying.

When it comes to the suspense and scares, the movie is pretty devoid of both. I had mentioned earlier that when the film is switching between both of the plots, it kind of kills all tension that is happening in the captive young women story. I also mentioned that I liked the reveal at the end. What would've made the reveal even more messed up is if it was revealed with a Hostel II style 'Elizabeth Bathory' bloodbath scene. Just her talking about the act while enjoyable, it isn't as effective as say, a father walking in on a wealthy older woman bathing in the blood of these young women.

Lastly, the acting is pretty solid. Being an Australian, I'm well aware of Caitlin Stasey. She got her start on a soap opera over here called Neighbours. She also starred in the big-budgeted Australian action film Tomorrow, When The War Began. She's an excellent actress and immensely likable on the big screen. Here she is put through the wringer. She does a lot with her scenes. I thought she was the best thing in this film regarding acting. She can carry a movie, no problem. I hope to see her in more genre films as she does well in these type of movies.







DEATH TOLL: 6

BLOOD AND GORE:

- Someone is heard being killed off-screen.
- A bloodied dead body is seen being dragged off.
- Lots of close up shots of dead women.
- A pitchfork through the foot.
- A pitchfork through the shoulder.
- Fingers are shoved into a bleeding wound.
- Two men are beaten to death with baseball bats.
- A man is stabbed in the hand with a sickle.
- A man is strangled by a noose made of sheets.







All I Need has some very solid ideas behind it. This is a movie that deserves points just for the third act reveal and twist. I didn't see it coming myself, so for that, I'd recommend the movie for a once off watch. Caitlin Stasey carries this film as well. The movie isn't without its problems, though. We have some pretty stupid character decisions, moments that seem questionable and a secondary subplot involving a dad that manages to kill all momentum in the film. This movie is hit and miss for me, but I believe that there were some good ideas, that just didn't come to fruition.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Lavender (2017)








DIRECTOR: Ed Gass-Donnelly

WRITERS:

Ed-Gass Donnelly
Colin Frizzell

CAST:

Abbie Cornish
Justin Long
Diego Klattenhoff
Dermot Mulroney
Peyton Kennedy
Sarah Abbott
Lola Flanery

PLOT:

Jane is a photographer who is presently in a failing marriage. Jane and her husband are playing nice for the sake of their daughter. While rushing to a job interview, Jane is involved in a horrible car accident where she suffers memory loss. Going through her photos, she begins to notice strange clues that may indicate she was responsible for the murders of a family she didn't know she had. Is it real or is it all in her head?
 







I remember hearing the word of mouth on Lavender back in April of last year when the film debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival. After that, it pretty much disappeared off of my radar. Now, nearly a year later and the movie has seen the light of day. I finally got around to giving this one a watch. I went into this movie completely blind. I hadn't seen a trailer, clips or even the poster until I got a screener of the film. All I knew of Lavender going in was that Australian actress Abbie Cornish was our lead in the movie which is always a big positive in my eyes.

The first thing I noticed while watching Lavender was that it was visually gorgeous. I can't fault this on a visual or cinematography level. The movie begins with a stunning freeze framed tracking shot of a bloody crime scene. Everything feels like a photo. A camera delicately moves through the front yard, up past police officers as they appear frozen in time. It weaves around this beautiful old farmhouse where we are witness to the aftermath of a horrific murder of a family. The camera moves around the house, and we see the grisly event. It really is a stunning start to the film.

The visual flair doesn't stop with that opening scene either. I really found that I was connected more to the camera work and visual aesthetics within the film than I was with the actual mystery at the heart of Lavender. We have lots of these beautiful open landscape shots, we have a nice little car crash sequence that is done entirely in slow motion that I thought added a lot of visual flair to the film, and the ending which also reveals the twist in freeze frame and slo-mo. I think this is visual storytelling more than an engaging story.

I think Lavender is pretty heavy on character development. We are immediately in the know that there is trouble within our two central characters marriage. I actually liked that the movie dealt with a married couple who were going through a pretty big rough patch, but instead of trying to destroy each other, they chose to focus on their daughter and make it work. You could see cracks in their foundations, but these two remained civil, lived and slept together in the same bed and still put on a brave face when they'd greet their child. I liked these two characters.

My most significant issues with Lavender was that I found myself pretty bored with the story. It took me three attempts to actually finish the movie. I fell asleep twice over two nights. I almost gave up on the film and wasn't going to review it because I thought that falling asleep twice was a sign that I should put this movie to bed and move on to the next film. I decided to give it one more shot and take a chance, and I actually got through it. The pacing of the film really was a struggle to get through. Maybe after two attempts, I just wasn't in the frame of mind at this point to really give it a positive review.

Another problem that I found with Lavender was the whole psychological-memory-loss mystery that plays out. I wouldn't call this entirely predictable, but for most of the story, you kind of have a fairly good idea where this story is heading and who is responsible for the murders. The one element that did work for me was that rather heartbreaking reveal of who a particular character turns out to be in the end. It does come full-circle in a rather sad way, and I think that aspect of the mystery worked but the rest of it was sort of bland.

Is Lavender scary? No. I didn't find the film creepy or scary, but in all honesty, I think this was going for more of a tonal vibe than outright jump scares. The movie deals with psychological demons and the results of that. At times the film also tries to add little supernatural looking touches which kind of throws off the tone of the breakdown that Abbie Cornish is having. Having hands coming from behind her out of the closet or hands grabbing her ankles from under the bed feels a little off when this film feels pretty grounded in reality.

I think the element that gave this film a sense of dread was the score. Sarah Neufeld from Arcade Fire and Colin Stetson have conjured up a somewhat haunting and pretty jarring score. Whenever the movie started to ramp up towards the darker moments in the film, the score is pretty eerie. I found myself noticing the score quite a bit on the third watch. I think it will creep people out who are easily terrified. I think the score will elevate the more suspenseful scenes for those who aren't usually big on thrillers or horror films.

Lastly, the acting is pretty solid for the most part. I'm a massive fan of Abbie Cornish. If you're only aware of her in more Hollywood related roles, I highly recommend you track down the Australian films Candy and Somersault. Her two best performances to date. She is astounding in both those movies. They will also destroy you emotionally. Here I was a little confused. I kept hearing her accent change and wasn't sure what to think of it. I don't know if that was intentional? The rest of the cast are all decent, though. Not bad performances from the cast.







DEATH TOLL:
 3

BLOOD AND GORE:

- A dead body covered in blood is covered with a sheet.
- A little girl is seen covered in blood.
- A woman is hit in the head with a hammer.
- Someone falls down the stair and cracks their skull open.
- Someone is smacked in the head with a shovel.







Lavender is a movie that I think has its moments. As a gorgeous looking small town tale about family, that element worked for me. As a murder mystery, I found the rest of it pretty bland. I was more enthralled with the visuals of the film than I was with the mystery at the heart of the film. It has an excellent score, some fantastic camera work, and a mostly solid cast. The film lacks any real scares or suspense, and I found the mystery to be somewhat predictable. I still think it's worth a once off watch if you have nothing better to see on a rainy day.