DVD REVIEW: OTHER (2012)
The horror/sci-fi short film, OTHER, is about a scientist who is trying to cure himself from a seemingly fatal disease whose prognosis offers no foreseeable cure–it has to be one of the coolest short films (running time 14:08) that I have seen in quite some time. The production values on this film look like they put a great deal of money and time into making the movie, even if they really did not have an enormous budget. As Patrick (played very convincingly by David Steiger) slowly rots away from the dangerous and deadly radiation treatments and procedures in what looks to be a mini-refrigerator with an opening for the patient (or victim’s) head, the special effects really kick up a notch with each and every scene.
The film has some of the coolest practical gore effects that I have seen for quite some time. The blood, guts, rotting flesh, open sores, cuts, and scrapes on Patrick look extremely convincing and so real. When one is not marveling at the gore effects on Patrick they will surely enjoy the slick editing, camerawork, and creative use of lighting and tones of color used throughout. Director Daniel DelPurgatorio (possessing quite possibly the coolest sounding last name on the planet) has crafted a film whose plot is fairly simple, yet still making a commentary on the politics of science and healthcare, that is contains so much visual eye-candy that ranges from the softness of the light used to the striking richly toned blood and aberrant shots revealing only select segments of scenes at a time.
The specific shot-selection cinematographer Andrew Werhde chose to throw viewers off-balance and create select portions of tension for various scenes was extremely effective. It really was the fast 15 minutes I have ever viewed and I found myself craving for more by the films’ end.
With a story by DelPurgatorio, co-written by Rob Foster and Anthony R. Williams, the short film is nothing less short of beautiful, but with heaping doses of bodily gore and piles of death. The film really creates a feeling of sympathy within the viewer, especially if one knows anyone or has had a loved one die of one of the leading causes of death in America: CANCER. But in watching the film several times I don’t know if the metaphor within the film was cancer, or if it was making a statement about something else medical, or even entirely different. One can only wonder what is within Patrick’s body and its climatic ending still leaves viewers with some unanswered questions. A film like this makes one think.
My real only complaint with the short film is its length. I wish the film was not a short and instead, a full-length feature. It is quite honestly one of the slickest and visually appealing low-budget, independent pieces of work I have seen in quite some time. The last film that I have seen that really impacted me with its overall look and style was Nicholas Refn’s DRIVE and, before that, Sofia Coppola’s LOST IN TRANSLATION, primarily for both films’ use of soft lighting. The soft lighting that is most generally associated (in my mind) for being used in 70’s and 80’s porno films. My comparisons may be movies from genres that have nothing to do with the movie being reviewed but those two films really stand out as having similar lighting and use of soft tones.
Let’s move on to the sound in the film, as the sound effects and movie score is as integral to the film’s success at creating a very detailed and specific environment pertaining to the technology and science of the film. Speaking of science, it (science) has never looked so cool before. The last few scenes in the film, complemented by the film’s only song that is not instrumental and reminiscent of some ’70s Bowie or cool hipster indie rock, really drive the film all the to its peak. OTHER could not have ended on a higher (or lower if one has already seen it) note.
If one sees only one low-budget, independent, direct-to-video short, it had better be OTHER. Head on over to the production company’s website, VITAMIN, and get yourself a copy of it. Notice, on the sidebar of the page, all the awards the short film has accumulated. They are well-deserved awards and accolades.