“We survive by remembering. But sometimes we survive by forgetting.”
– Dr Silberling
Anna (Emily Browning) returns from her “sabbatical” at a psychiatric institute ten months after a fire ravaged her home after she had returned from a party early. Her sickly mother perished in it, and try as she may, Anna has no idea what happened that night, the memories completely escape her. Now Anna is returning home with her father Steven (David Strathairn) and his new girlfriend Rachel (Elizabeth Banks). Anna is incredibly unhappy that her father has moved on so quickly, and reacts negatively towards Rachel.
Upon arrival, Emily is thrilled to be reunited with her sister again, though Alex (Arielle Kebbel) is upset with Emily for having ignored her messages and letters, etc. Alex picks a massive fight with Steven about it, and he does not defend his actions. Anna is finding it difficult to fit back into normal life, and is plagued by dreary dreams, as well as her mother constantly visiting her in her dreams, always talking to her. The sisters despise Rachel for having been their mother’s nurse prior to her death, and are angered with her for usurping their father’s love and affection so quickly. Soon Anna draws the conclusion with Alex that the visage of her dead mother is trying to tell her something. She was murdered, and Rachel is responsible.
The sisters freak out, and start looking into Rachel and her past, which they find to be very sketchy. Rachel initially tried very hard to befriend Anna and have a relationship with the young girl, but has since abandoned the idea. It is evident that Anna dislikes Rachel, and that she will not let the young woman into her life. She does not want a replacement for her mother. The more she learns about Rachel’s past, the more terrified Anna becomes. Anna’s ex-boyfriend Matt (Jesse Moss) runs into her and tells her that he saw what happened the night of the fire. They arrange to meet later that night, though he does not meet with her, and is found dead the next day. Digging further, it would appear that Rachel’s MO is to care for a dying mother, kill the children and have the father to herself when all is said and done.
Anna has lost enough and cannot afford to lose any more in her life. She and Alex begin to make waves about Rachel, though Steven is furious about how everything is being done. He loves Rachel, and wants to have a happy family, and will hear nothing against Rachel. Will Anna be able to convince her father of Rachel’s treachery? Is there a way to prove that Rachel is not who she says she is? What will Anna do now that Matt has been murdered? Did anyone else see what happened that night? Can anyone else help her get through the block that is keeping the memory locked up tight?
I didn’t mind this one. Emily Browning pulls off her young teenage mental disorder rather well. The story itself is ok, though sometimes it gets a little bit jumbled when it tries to be too smart. There were also plenty of times where the story slowed and became predictable, and relied very much on jump scares that didn’t do much in the way of jump. I was already incredibly sceptical thanks to the opening lines (not a fan of them at all). Nothing we haven’t seen before, so it is fine for a movie night with friends who don’t want anything too serious or to watch between other movies if you are undecided. It wasn’t dreadful, I didn’t mind the movie that much, but it was certainly not mind blowing, or worth watching again. The cast delivered some decent performances, though at times the soundtrack is overbearing to point out the dark and evil insinuations that are made, which you would notice perfectly fine if you are just watching with even just half an ear.