Ironically, I am writing the review for Lynda Reiss’ Lancaster Park on the day I become a parent to a teenager. In just a little over 15 minutes, I’m filled with dread, trepidation, and a tiny spark of hope.
Single mother Rita Miller (Sara Arrington) comes home late because a body was found bludgeoned to death near her Lancaster, CA, neighborhood. Witnesses say they saw a group of teens near the body. When Rita arrives home, she is ignored by her teenage daughter, Simone (Dana Koops), who refuses to acknowledge her mother and quickly rides off with her less-than-ideal boyfriend.
Later, Rita discovers a bloody piece of clothing, and after a tense conversation with Detective Abara (Shukri Abdi), she heads into the desert to burn the “evidence.” Bad mistake as Rita finds herself stuck in the desert with no gas, no cell coverage, and a stranger (Neil Napier) pulling up behind her.
“…refuses to acknowledge her mother and quickly rides off with her less-than-ideal boyfriend.”
Lancaster Park is a story of the blood, sweat, and tears parents put into raising their teens. It’s that moment in the relationship when your child is no longer your “child,” and hopefully, every life skill you could pass on took effect. At the same time, while your kid has grown up, you’ll always be their mother or father.
Stories like Lancaster Park are not necessarily the most original as the (mis)adventures of parents and teens have been told for millennia. The story itself solidly captures subtle emotional moments of frustration, anxiety, and relief with a good performance by Sara Arrington as the haggard mother.
What shines, though, is the top-notch production from start to finish. Lancaster Park looks professional from camera angles, lighting, sound, and editing. It shows off the qualities of an experienced production team. Granted that it’s shot in a popular location for indie films… the high deserts of California. Nonetheless, the final movie is close to flawless. Lancaster Park is about as solid as a short film can get.
"…top-notch production from start to finish."