I’ve always equated short films with short stories: they make the most of their abbreviated space by filling in the most important of information. Of course, given the short period of time, the format provides both a test and a sense of creativity as the artist can find interesting ways to make the most use of those few pages or dozen or so minutes.
Out There is a short film that sets the stage for a larger feature due next year, yet also feels satisfactory in its brevity.
Director: Randal Plunkett
The short film begins with Robert (Conor Marren) finding himself lost in a forest with blood dripping down from his head. Suffering from short term amnesia, he attempts to find help and to piece together exactly what happened. As the day goes on, flashes of the past with his girlfriend Jane (Emma Eliza Regan) begin to re-emerge. However, the more he begins to remember, the more uneasy Robert becomes.
While the amnesiac protagonist can sometimes be a bit cliched or uninspired, Plunkett uses it as a device to keep the audience attentive as they solve the mystery of Robert’s past alongside him. This allows him to incorporate a non-linear narrative via the flashbacks. A last-minute twist not only leaves the film with a cliffhanger ending, but also a want for more.
As previously stated, Out There serves as a prequel to a feature length film Plunkett intends to release sometime next year. Because of this, it’s very apparent that the short film feels like a smaller piece of something much larger, which is a good thing considering how good it is. However, based off of its merits alone, it feels somewhat incomplete. Again, this can be chalked up to its prequel status, but other short film prequels have come out that feel whole without the inclusion of the feature film it spins into (Wes Anderson’s Hotel Chevalier and The Darjeeling Limited come to mind as specific examples).
However, that’s not to say that Out There isn’t a well-crafted short. It definitely serves its purpose as an exciting introduction to the universe Plunkett is building. The wait will be long, but Out There is a good indication that it’ll be well worth it.