Color, 2014, 14m.
Directed by Eduardo Miyar
Starring Valerie Jones, Eric Dooley, John Stevenson
Hodge Podge Productions (Digital) / WS (1.78:1) (16:9)

Overlapping Scenarios

A crafty short film that virtually defies classification for much of its running time, the engaging mindbender Overlapping Scenarios Overlapping Scenariosserves as a fine calling card for its talent in front of and behind the camera. You could find flickers of similar films here and there, but what emerges is an unsettling and spookily open-ended genre smorgasbord that leaves a creepy chill after the closing credits roll.

Laurie (Jones) has a problem: her writer boyfriend, Wes (Stevenson), has become completely unresponsive and apparently vanished from the face of the earth after heading out to a cabin in the woods to work on a new project. She decides to head out there with the help of Sam (Dooley), her slacker ex, whom she trots off in her car for what turns out to be an expedition into madness. Stuck out in the middle of nowhere, they're besieged by a masked slasher, a baffling chain of violent events, and a reality-bending series of twists and turns they could have never imagined.

It's difficult to discuss the second half of the film without blowing its string of revelations, which eventually play like a Stephen King novel on crystal meth. The film features a number of sly nods to sci-fi and horror tropes while gleefully shifting aesthetics several times, including some obvious and appropriate winks at The Twilight Zone. On top of that the escalating special effects are also cleverly executed; again it's tricky to say what they entail, but there's some nifty visual sleight of hand that perfectly fits the theme. Screenwriter Don Guarisco manages to keep the complex layers of the plot clear and riveting throughout, while director Eduardo Miyar (who earlier helmed the short "What's with the Dummy?" for Hodge Podge Productions) generates an increasingly frantic pace with snappy editing creating plenty of suspense and an implied but never overdone sense of violence and menace.

There's no physical media release for this short yet, but it is available for viewing online at the embedded link below.

Reviewed on January 11, 2015.