HollyShorts 2020 Review – Unsettling is one adjective to describe the short THE THREE MEN YOU MEET AT NIGHT which screened at the Oscar Qualifying Hollyshorts film festival. Equal parts Twilight Zone and After School Special, we follow Jess (Stella Baker) as she attempts to make her way home from a party, walking home in the middle of the night. Writer-director Beck Kitsis keeps the atmosphere moody and tense as Jess encounters three different offers to help her home, all of them tinged with the threat of danger.
Kitsis keeps a tight focus on Baker. Mascara streaming down her face, heading toward the red glow of a stoplight in the distance. At first the overtly creepy Stranger ( Tom Martin) encounters our heroine. Jess avoids his threat knowing that walking alone on an empty street at night is far safer. Next a Friend (Barron Leung) offers her a ride. Soon after that her journey brings her to a Policeman (Walker Hare). With each encounter, there is a sense of relief that is tinged with a sense of danger that captures the unease that women must face on a daily basis.
A sort of modern-day Red Riding Hood THE THREE MEN YOU MEET AT NIGHT avoids the caustic traps of misandry and instead covers the world we see in a haze of doubt and suspicion. It also helps a great deal that the performances are solid and simmer just under the level of panic or aggressive action. It is ultimately the surreal tone of this short that keeps us off balance and on guard. I am assuming that this is exactly what Kitsis wanted us to feel. Unease with a lingering expectation of danger. This is an effective short that stays with you.
|THE THREE MEN YOU MEET AT NIGHT|
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