Austin Film Festival (AFF) – Higher education is one of those subjects that drives heated debates, even amongst friends and loved ones. Some can’t imagine a feasible future without – some see a bleak and debt-ridden future with. Marc (John DiMino) is one of those students – in far too far over his head, having basically cheated and squeaked by in all of his classes, facing demons and a lack of belonging all on his own … and now faced with the most important paper of his life. As his friends Alice (Carolina Do) and Gonzalo (Conrado Falco Iii) leave him to wallow in his misery in the library, Marc has to face more than just his bad decisions – much more.
Cram is shockingly stunning – beautiful art direction, exquisite makeup design, and cinematography that hides just enough from the viewer. Makeup effects by Beatrice Sniper, independent and short film sweetheart, fly far above and beyond any expectations you could possibly have about short film makeups. Puppeteering is also a strong point of this film. Practical effects are abundant, and brilliantly executed in spades. Even high-level, high-budget films struggle to make good use of practical effects. Cram does it right – from body horror to character and creature design and effects.
While on its surface Cram could seem deceptively simple, it’s a much deeper lesson if you just look at it a little sideways. The evils and horrors of higher education- the vampires we willingly offer our necks to, and even pay for the trouble of sucking us dry – come to vibrant life in Cram. There’s a collective catharsis in the intricacies of Cram – almost like exorcising the demons of every bad educational experience there ever was for all of us – through laughter, tears, and screams.
Cram reviewed as part of our Austin Film Festival (AFF) coverage.
8 out of 10