BAD THINGS – Short Film Review
Writer/director Miles Trahan (IN DREAMS — 2009 Short Film) delivers BAD THINGS, a seven-minute short drama about two guys dumping a dead body in the woods. Wait… scratch that. This films not just about two guys disposing of a corpse. Sure, that’s what actually takes place on screen, but the devil is in the details, as they say.
BAD THINGS opens on two men, Peter (played by Ryan Castro, NEVER TOO LATE) and Paul (played by Justin Serrano), both in white shirts covered in blood removing a dead man from the trunk of their car. Peter and Paul carry on about faith and God, karma and redemption, taking two opposing viewpoints on the subject of understanding it all… the easy way, and the hard way.
The pleasant, peaceful setting of the woods in autumn daylight and birds chirping, contrasts with the darker deed being done. While the natural assumption would be to assume the two men are killers, Trahan presents the story in a way that does not answer the question for us… the audience is left thinking at the end of the film, wondering what’s really transpired in the time before the film begins.
I found myself rewatching BAD THINGS 3, 4 then 5 times, desperately trying to pinpoint tiny hints that may lead to an answer, to some better insight into Peter’s character and his uncertainty. Paul is calm and collect, while Peter is torn apart by what has transpired. The dialogue is what shines brightest in BAD THINGS, telling a story that is multi-layered. This is a film that requires the audience to read between the lines, refusing to hand over a clean, simple ending all wrapped up in pretty paper.
BAD THINGS is shot in a single location, over one extended period of time. The film begins as abruptly as it ends, and equally as open to interpretation. The HD-SLR video, shot by Iain Browne, looks great and the audio is equally crisp, complimenting the dialogue-driven story. Trahan shows a greater understanding of film as a thought-provoking art form, and I look forward to seeing his horizons expand into equally riveting subject matter.
I’m drawn to films such as BAD THINGS, films that make us think, not just about the story itself but of higher concepts. I’ve always felt philosophy and film are perfect bedfellows, a perfect artistic means to a greater end. Trahan’s film exemplifies this, but also further proves my point that the best cinema is often the least spectacular cinema. In other words… a picture may say a thousand words, but the right picture only needs to say a few.