That’s Life, from Sea Griffin Productions, written and directed by Carson Griffin, is a bold, abstract short that examines the looming danger from letting out demons go unfaced. The short opens on a woman stares blanky in a bath before cutting into a rapidly superimposed montage of her face in various states of agony. As she heads to bed, a clawed hand reaches out from her periphery before the demon arises fully, pressing itself against her sleeping body. She awakens with a gasp as the demon scampers into the shadows. It was all a terrible dream—or was it?
This is an abstract art short with no dialog or really any literal story arc, though there is a certain amount of insight gained into the nature of this demon by the end. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this interaction from a character building perspective is that the demon clearly has an impact on the woman, but never seems to be recognized by her directly, even though it is shown standing right in front of her in multiple scenes. Given the emotionally-charged nature of the visuals of That’s Life, this creates a sense of an underlying turmoil, a source of death and decay (the demon is shown at one point causing a piece of fruit to rot) that has been left to fester due to her unwillingness or inability to challenge it.
It’s got a strong visual style with interesting lighting, thoughtful composition, and a frequent use of superimposition to visually suggest the relationship between the woman and her demon. The score contributes to this nightmarish feel with a wide array of textures with heavy distortion and shrill percussive elements. While the broad strokes of Griffin’s intent are made explicit in time, there are plenty of very deliberate visual choices present to allow each viewer to arrive at their own unique interpretation of the narrative.