The teen thriller “Innocence,” based on the 2001 novel by Jane Mendelsohn, is a movie of such snowballing stupidity that it’s a wonder the actors could keep straight faces while shooting it (outtakes, please!).
The film’s saving grace is Sophie Curtis’ gentle, empathetic performance as Beckett, a decent kid who moves to Manhattan with her author father, Miles (Linus Roache), after her mother dies in a surfing accident.
On Beckett’s first day at the tony if ominous-looking Hamilton Prep, she begins having violent visions. When a student jumps to her death — and Beckett learns it’s not the first suicide the private school has seen — she decides to stay enrolled there anyway. Dumb move No. 1.
Our heroine soon discovers Hamilton’s creepy-gorgeous female faculty may harbor a dark secret. And it’s not just that they all look like former Victoria’s Secret models (which they do).
On the upside, Beckett makes an OK friend in coolish classmate Jen (Sarah Sutherland, Kiefer’s daughter) and falls for upscale skate kid Tobey (Graham Phillips). But most everyone else around her seems suspicious, dare say dangerous.
That especially includes Hamilton’s ridiculously sexy, Vicodin-dispensing (really?) nurse (Kelly Reilly, slumming it), who moves in on Miles and then curiously — and without comment from anyone — seems to move in with him and Beckett. (Miles is such a dunderheaded dad he should be arrested for child endangerment.)
The mystery that Beckett ultimately unravels is as predictable as it is dull. It’s unfortunate that director Hilary Brougher, who co-wrote the daft script with Tristine Skyler, didn’t blow the lid off the film’s teen-friendly rating and go full-on camp with the silly-saucy material. It was this one’s only hope.
MPAA rating: PG-13 for violence and bloody images, thematic material, sexuality and drug content.
Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes.
Playing: In general release.