'Not for the faint-hearted': Canterbury film producer behind new psychological thriller

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Nadia Maxwell, right, with English actress Julia Ormond on the Wellington set of Reunion, a new...
Nadia Maxwell, right, with English actress Julia Ormond on the Wellington set of Reunion, a new psychological thriller. Photo: Supplied via North Canterbury News
Leithfield film and television producer Nadia Maxwell has a new film scheduled to premiere in New Zealand on October 30.

The new high-concept, psychological thriller Reunion was written and directed by Jake Mahaffy, of Ohio in the United States, and produced by Maxwell with fellow Kiwis Ainsley Gardiner and Georgina Conder, and Mike Ryan from the US.

Reunion tells the story of Ellie, who returns to her childhood home late in her pregnancy and is unexpectedly reunited with her estranged mother, Ivy, played by English actress Julia Ormond.

Ellie, played by New Zealand actress, Emma Draper, becomes consumed by the dark memories of her dead sister that haunt the house and ends up unearthing the hidden, horrifying reality of her family.

A scene from Reunion which recently screened as part of the NightStream 2020 festival in the...
A scene from Reunion which recently screened as part of the NightStream 2020 festival in the United States. Photo: nightstream.org
“It is emotionally charged and quietly audacious,” Maxwell says.

“Jake Mahaffy’s examination of how family trauma can become its own kind of haunting is a first-rate psychological thriller.”

The film was made in Wellington and set in a historic old house in Lower Hutt.

“The grand dame was built in 1900 by former Wellington Mayor John Duthie,” Maxwell says.

“It is very much a character in the film.”

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied
Jake says Reunion is unsettling to watch.

“It is definitely a little more nuanced and more of a slow-burn psychological thriller with horror elements.

“It is for people who have eclectic tastes in horror films and can tolerate boundaries in the genre.”

Reunion will have its New Zealand general release on November 5, which will include a screening at the Rangiora Town Hall Cinemas.

- Shelley Topp

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