Trauma (Original Title: Lavender) 2016
Director: Ed Gass-Donnelly
Writers: Colin Frizzell, Ed Gass-Donnelly
Stars: Abbie Cornish, Dermot Mulroney, Justin Long |
Last night I watched Trauma on Netflix.
On IMDB, it’s received some bad reviews, but I’ve loved Abbie Cornish from Neil Armfield’s Candy, which is one of my favourite films so I had to give it a shot and I was glad that I did.
Cornish plays Jane, a woman who doesn’t have a past. Then she has an accident and a psychiatrist recommends that she takes the opportunity to go back to her childhood home to retrieve her lost memories.
The film opens with a family murdered except for young Jane huddled in a corner, covered in blood- who is blamed for the murders. Jane represses the memories for 25 years and goes on to get married and has a child of her own. However, although she loves her job as a photographer, her marriage is falling apart and she knows that something is missing from her life but she she doesn’t know what – she just knows that she cannot remember who her family is. Then she has an accident, causing her to lose her short-term memory.
While in hospital, a psychiatrist – having looked over her records and noticing a previous head injury from her childhood – recommends that she returns to her childhood home, while she recovers. Jane then begins to receive messages from her past, and her and her daughter are haunted by the “monster” in her childhood home. The more the messages from the fairies draw her in, the more it becomes clear who the “monster” is – her uncle who abused her and her younger sister, then murdered her family. These are the memories that she repressed and the fairies are the spirits of her family, guarding her childhood home, awaiting her return. Her uncle sent her to a foster home after the deaths of her family and when she returned to the home, kept the information from her.
Trauma triggered me to the core, but even so I thought it was fantastic. As a victim of abuse myself, who understands repressed memories and psychology, I’ve been begging for an intelligent horror like this. Trauma is a journey of the depths of the subconscious; Jane hasn’t been allowed to grow because she doesn’t know who she is, which I can relate to. The house was her subconscious.
The narrative is strong, and Cornish is remarkable as a female protagonist. As a voyeur, I was engaged and cared about her recovering her memories. The soundtrack also adds to the tension and atmosphere, without detracting from what happens on screen.
I also really enjoyed seeing Justin Long in a very different role than usual.
Again, I will warn if you are a victim of abuse this will trigger you.
But this is the kind of film I wish I’d written myself.