Michael Darren's score is the first think that hits you from Luke Shanahan's Rabbit. It announces loudly that chilling events will follow with its mix of classical instruments and high pitched tech beats leadings one's mind to anticipate violence pain and suffering. In the opening frames we see a young girl in two different settings attempting to escape something terrifying. As the narrative begins it's explained that Maude (Adelaide Clemens) who is staying medicine in Germany has a twin sister also played by Clemens who had disappeared over a year ago. Since her sister Cleo has gone missing Maude has these dreams that appear to be Cleo's experiences or an attempt to tell Maude where she is. One day while studying a cadaver for class Maude becomes agitated seemingly needing to get some air then collapses. After this event she returns home to Australia determined to find her sister.
The next part of the narrative looses the frenzied quick opening replacing it with an expositional heavy slow trot. Maude's parents are introduced along with her sister's fiancee Ralph (Alex Russell) who's been helping out at the house. There is tension there as her parents had a funeral for Cleo which Maude did not attend while the local now on leave police detective who was consumed with the case Henry (Jonny Pasvolsky) still feels that Ralph had something to do with the death.
The action quickens when Maude follows her visions out to a Caravan full of American Horror Story types with Ralph and Henry in tow. Here cinematographer Anna Howard shines as her lens illuminates the southern Australian palate regardless if the sun or moon is at a highpoint in the sky. Maude tries to put substance to her dreams trying to determine if they are a path to Cleo. Amongst the fringe they meet a normal couple a German trained doctor Nerida (Veele Baetens) and her husband Keith (Charles Mayer) From there the story moves to one last port of call a sterile yet ominous Victorian Mansion which doubles as a medical facility appearing to be the spot where Maude's dreams and the bits and pieces she's picked up along the way will lead her to answers.
Rabbit is a psychological thriller that has several compelling elements but just does not seem to get to the juicy centre. The score overwhelms leaving a lot for the story to colour in. It's a beautiful looking landscape with an ensemble cast that supports the material. However, several passages require more bite to bring the entire project up to the level of the visual and auditory elements of the piece.
** 1/2 Out of 4
Rabbit | Luke Shanahan | Australia | 2017 | 103 Minutes.
Tags: Disappearance, Twins, Medical School, Caravan, Forest, Southern Australia, Hide n Seek, Experiments.