Directed By: Edgar Michael Bravo
Starring: Timothy Driscoll, Alexandra Swarens, Alisha Seaton
Tag line: "The First Step In Healing Yourself Is To Accept The Truth"
“Something happened here”
This line is repeated several times by the main character in director Edgar Michael Bravo's 2011 film, Mother's Red Dress, the story of a young man trying to escape the demons of his past, even if he can't quite remember who, or what, those demons might be.
After watching his mother (Alisha Seaton) murder her boyfriend in cold blood, a distraught Paul (Timothy Driscoll) leaves home, vowing never to return. His travels take him to a small town, where he meets Brenda (Amanda Reed) and Ashley (Alexandra Swarens), both of whom work at a local coffee shop. Brenda is immediately attracted to Paul, yet he finds himself drawn to Ashley, despite the fact she shows very little interest in him. That changes, however, when Paul asks Ashley to give him a tour of the local college, where he plans to enroll before the upcoming semester. But try as he might to get on with his life, there are issues from Paul's past he has yet to come to terms with, including a particularly tragic event he's only now starting to remember.
Director Bravo structures Mother's Red Dress as if it were a puzzle, inviting us to splice together the mystery surrounding Paul one piece at a time. Most of the clues we're presented with come courtesy of Paul himself, whose vivid dreams haunt him nightly. During one such nightmare, we catch a brief glimpses of a man, presumably Paul's father, lying in a hammock, while Paul's mother, dressed in red, stands nearby. The next night, He'll again have this same dream, only this time, he himself, as a young boy, is a part of it, staring at the hammock until his mother coerces him to look away. I enjoyed the subtle manner in which Paul's story unfolded, and was genuinely interested to see how it would all play out.
Ultimately, I did find myself more in tune with the story than the characters; the snippets of Paul's past were always more interesting than the scenes of his new life, or his interactions with Brenda and Ashley. Still, there are enough twists and turns in Mother's Red Dress to keep you guessing throughout, and the final reveal (which is suitably startling) makes the entire journey worthwhile.