This twisted little short film about a practical joke gone horribly wrong kept me guessing the whole time and made me laugh right out loud. I think it’s a good example of a “resume short” that uses a comedic formula in an unfamiliar way to create a very original piece. It starts out simply enough, with Jill driving a car obviously upset, next to her boyfriend Jack, who is the cause of her exasperation because he always “takes things too far.” They stop at a gas station, where Jack buys a handful of Jill’s favorite chocolates as well as a plastic spider. The chocolates manage to assuage Jane’s anger, but the spider winds up causing both of them dearly.
The simplicity of this film is what I love the best. I think all to often we think that we complicate our scripts with a bunch of non-essential story elements that we think will contribute to the idea of the film or help the audience “get” what we’re trying to say. I know I’m guilty of this, even in my current script. Mostly though, these extras wind up only getting in our way. This film doesn’t delve into anyone’s psyche of make us ponder the meaning or nature of existence, it just tells a the story of one seemingly random event.
The moral of the story is pretty set up from the quote at the beginning, “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye” (a quote ingeniously cited to “mum”) and really goes on to assert that if you keep messing with people, you’ll get the comeuppance you deserve. But the seriousness and reality of the story right up until the end make the final surprise so much more satisfying, and the whole film ultimately winds up in the realm of the absurd; the comedic. We aren’t that sad for the pain that the characters go through because all of a sudden it becomes clear that the whole thing is really an extended gag set up to entertain the audience.
A+ Nash Edgerton, you got me good you crazy Aussie.