Rabbit Movie Review
Written by Angry Scholar
Released by The Orchard
Written and directed by Luke Shanahan
2017, 100 minutes, Not Rated
Movie released on September 22nd, 2017
Adelaide Clemens as Maude/Cleo
Alex Russell as Ralph
Veerle Baetens as Nerida
Jonny Pasvolsky as Henry
Rabbit follows Maude, an Australian attending med school in Germany, who returns home following a series of eerie visions of her missing twin sister Cleo. Cleo’s disappearance has never been solved. Her parents held a funeral for the missing twin, and Cleo’s fiancée Ralph has been helping the grieving couple with household work. (Probably not a healthy way to grieve.)
Maude eventually sets out, with Ralph in tow, to follow her apparent second sight in the hopes of discovering what happened to Cleo. They are joined by Henry, a police officer formerly assigned to the case and presently on “leave,” seemingly because of his growing obsession with Cleo.
The three wind up at a strange caravan park in the woods where they encounter a group of weird trailer folks who offer hints about Cleo’s disappearance. Of course, if genre films teach us anything, it’s that helpful weirdos in the woods are not to be trusted. Maude wakes up to find herself a prisoner in a country manor, where twins are the focus of intense, sinister interest.
Rabbit has a stylishly retro, bass-heavy soundtrack, coupled with a strange conceit of occasionally interspersing scenes with blank, crimson-colored screens. It’s all a bit more horror-y than what the narrative actually delivers (which is essentially a tale of mad science motivated by personal loss). The acting is above-par but not particularly memorable: the only member of the central cast to stand out is Veerle Baetens as the obsessed science-adjacent Nerida, who simultaneously embodies a kind of alien beauty, steely resolve, and a streak of cruelty.
Smart and polished, Rabbit is an interesting film that nevertheless doesn’t seem to bear a second viewing. It has twists, enemies becoming friends and vice versa, and even a single, oddly-placed (and ultimately meaningless) jump scare. Its message, if it can be said to have one, doesn’t even begin to emerge until the closing scenes. By the story’s end, the viewer is left wondering why any of the events depicted really matter beyond themselves. There’s something evil afoot, to be sure, but it ultimately feels trivial, not at all the haunting psychological thriller it’s intended to be.