In the fear of losing someone dear to us how far would we go to keep those safe… even after death. In that moment, one’s morality and love are pushed to their limits thus making choices we would otherwise stray from. In the film Sweet River directed by Justin McMillan the test of a parent’s love for their child is stretched far beyond any normal bounds. The film follows a grieving mother named Hanna who is searching for the corpse of her son whom was murdered by a local child murderer. What seems like a straightforward plot is only widened with the mystery of a horrible school bus accident that killed six children and also throw in the presence of the undead. There are multiple stories being told each with their share of intrigue but the film suffers from it not being able to sync them to be cohesively by the final act.
Hanna, played by Lisa Kay, is emotionally wrecked but plays it with a straight face all in the pursuit of being able to lay her son to rest peacefully. I was fully immersed in Hanna’s struggle but with the different angles being played I felt it detracted from the character with her constantly going back and forth. The random occurrence of the town’s dead children playing a part from Field of Dreams with a bit of Pet Sematary thrown in seemed to be too much as well because while they don’t mind hugging their creeped out folks at night they are quick to inflict harm to Hanna for intervening. If this type of element is to be added along with them mentioning Hanna’s son I would expect some more information but that is never given.
McMillan’s pursuit in being able to tell this tale is admirable but sadly fails in its execution. I would have either preferred a straight tale of Hanna’s pursuit in this small town for her son’s body or more of an emphasis built around the lore of this eerie river/cornfield that can bring back the dead. The film is able to hit some of the right chords but unfortunately just drifts away.
2 out of 5