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Silver Haze is a solid sophomore feature from Sacha Polak

Sacha Polak switches gears for her second film, "Silver Haze," from Dark Skye Pictures. Polak has also written the screenplay for the film. The story revolves around Franky (Vicky Knight), a 23-year-old nurse living with her large family in an East London borough. Since a traumatic fire that happened 15 years ago, Franky has been obsessed with a thirst for revenge and a need to assign blame and guilt. As a result, she has been unable to build any meaningful relationships.

However, her life turns upside down when she falls in love with one of her patients, Florence (Esme Creed-Miles). They both escape to the coast, where Florence lives with her patchwork family, who are more open-minded. In this new environment, Franky finds the emotional shelter to deal with the grudges of the past.

"Silver Haze" is a doozy film to review. Since I avoided the trailer and went off the description alone, I thought the film would be a balls-to-the-wall action fest. However, the director had something else in mind for the narrative. Throughout Sacha Polak's Silver Haze, the painful depiction of each character unveils a collection of wounded souls.

Among them is Franky, who bears both physical and psychological scars as a result of a devastating fire accident. The quest for answers haunts her daily; even 15 years later, she vitally pursues justice for those responsible. Her battles are further complicated by an inattentive mother burdened with insomnia and unresolved mental health issues.

Additionally, she suffers from her father's abandonment and his decision to start anew with a different woman. This act leads Franky and their sister Leah (portrayed by Charlotte Knight) down the path of stalkers filled with anger-driven dreams to inflict distant harm on this new family unit. Her relationship engagement lacks gratifying substance, filtered through her boyfriend Flynn's perspective. A serendipitous meeting during her hospital duties as a nurse introduces Florence - played by Esme Creed-Miles- into Franky's life, presenting attractive yet tumultuous potential.

Florence provides fresh opportunities through acceptance within her liberal, supportive proxy family and the prospects sparked by newfound love. However, it doesn't take long before signs of dysfunction become evident within this alternative familial fabric defined by their unique strife, such as Florence's brother Jack (Archie Brigden), living under autism spectrum disorder diagnosis; Alice, portrayed by Angela Bruce – their grandmother battling cancer alongside Florence fighting internal demons leading to disruptive eating disorders presenting moody, violent tendencies escalating to suicidal ideations.

While the film won't be for all tastes, those who enjoy gloomy dramas should give it a look.

Final Grade: B -

"Silver Haze" opens in Theaters this Friday, March 1, 2024, with a VOD release on March 12, 2024

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