The final months of pregnancy are in theory characterised by rest and relaxation to guarantee the safe arrival of the baby into a comfortable environment. Being trapped in one’s creepy childhood home with an abusive mother and haunted by the ghost of a dead sister is the last place a woman wants to be. Unfortunately, the protagonist of Reunion finds herself ensnared in this claustrophobic prison of memory and nostalgia.
Ellie (Emma Draper) is finishing her dissertation on the transition from esoterism to modern medicine in medieval times as she returns to her recently deceased grandparents’ old family home to spend time with her estranged mother, Ivy (Julie Ormond). She is in her final trimester before giving birth, and is ultra-sensitive to her tense surroundings, where she must endure her passive-aggressive mother and startling hallucinations of her dead sister as a little girl. The walls close in and the tension reaches fever pitch as she uncovers the disturbing secrets locked away in the mysterious house.
The performances from the two lead actresses are formidable, bringing to life this strained and complicated relationship. Sadly, the script doesn’t do them any favours as the muddled story hits predictable beats and twists. Director/writer Jake Mahaffy restricts the entirety of the action to the house, but never really creates much of an atmosphere or a sense of spatial awareness to suck the viewer in.
Borrowing from Hereditary, The Reunion establishes a family situation as the source of horror and terror, but the familiarity of the tropes and lethargic cinematography hamper this indie, preventing it from spooking audiences or reaching any deeper meaning in its themes.
Reunion is released digitally on demand on 22nd March 2021.
Watch the trailer for Reunion here: