Bestsellers aren’t the only Young Adult books out there that need love! Indie books are getting their day with this weekend’s release of INNOCENCE, adapted from the novel by Jane Mendelsohn.
The Fandom had the opportunity to watch this indie paranormal thriller early thanks to the Weinstein Company and now we’re giving you the details!
After the unexpected death of her mother, Beckett Warner (Sophie Curtis) and her dad, Miles (Linus Roache), leave their small seaside town for New York City to get away from the harsh memories and be closer to Mile’s publishing company. Miles’ helpful agent, Natalie (Stephanie March) enrolls Beckett in the prestigious Hamilton Prep. While it isn’t always easy for quiet and unsure Beckett to fit in, she makes a friend in Jen (Sarah Sutherland) and quickly finds herself falling for Natalie’s son Tobey (Graham Phillips). She also finds herself unwilling close to the dubious school nurse, Pam (Kelly Reilly), who is far too interested in Beckett’s dad and uses Beckett as an excuse to weasel into his life.
But it’s much more than a tale of the new girl in town! Beckett is beyond sure that there’s something that’s not quite right with the staff at Hamilton Prep. She discovers that the school has a long, dark history and suspects Pam and her friends are involved in continuing the hidden traditions of a cult. Unfortunately, Beckett is assumed to be jealous of her father’s budding relationship with Pam at best and at worst, completely losing her mind. Can she figure out what’s going on? Or will she be the next target?
Don’t recognize the actor names above? We bet you know a surprising amount of their faces from television– LAW AND ORDER: SVU, THE GOOD WIFE, VEEP, VIKINGS and THE BLACK BOX, to name a few shows these actors star in. Our lead, Sophie Curtis, has also been featured in ARMITAGE with Richard Gere and THE ART OF GETTING BY with Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts. The unassuming casts works in favor of the movie in most cases, but we wish Beckett had been a bit more genuine and reactionary while dealing with all these scary, complex, frightening situations. She never seems too phased. Major kudos to Kelly Reilly, who is seriously sly and freaky as Pam, and Sarah Sutherland, whose portrayal of Jen supplies some much needed levity and sarcastic teenage wit.
But the movie does have some other rough points, including special effects that just aren’t very good, even by indie horror standards, and make it pretty easy to find a scene that’s supposed to be scary seem utterly ridiculous. There’s also a sort of primal longing in the staff toward the students they’re protecting for their own uses that feels a bit uncomfortable at times.
The romance between Beckett and Tobey is adorable and very realistic, but it’s also very simple. Those who are looking for high intensity teen romance full on undeniable connections and fates entangled in romantic choices won’t find it in this relatively PG relationship that becomes more and more implied as it progresses, but they’re cute.
INNOCENCE is a fun, creepy story with a killer twist of an ending. That being said, the story moves slowly and never really gets your blood pumping too much. We imagine it will fall into the same category as THE COVENANT (which we also like)– an indie move that gets a lot of love from fans behind the scenes but never did enough damage to really go mainstream.