Damage Control


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Damage Control
"The parallels between the two characters' behaviour are nicely managed for comic effect."

How would you feel if your partner blindfolded you and drove you out into the middle of the countryside, promising to show you some kind of inherited property? Assuming your mind wasn't poisoned by too many horror films, leading you to anticipate a nasty twist, you'd probably find it hard to keep yourself from getting overexcited. What could it be? A castle? A mansion? For Alison (Heather Geisler) - as is probably the case for must such people in real life - the moment of revelation leads to disappointment. There on the wooded hillside are a few old cabins, disconnected rooms with sheets of corrugated metal to shield them from the elements, scraps of plastic and tarpaulin blowing in the breeze.

She knows it's a special moment for Drew (Clayton Farris), so tries to maintain a smile as he enthuses about how it's been in the family for years. But it's hard to conceal her disappointment, and she disappoints him in turn when she takes a call from work. Something bad has come into the open there. She attempts to manage the crisis, to work out how they can spin the situation to minimise damage, whilst Drew continues his exploration of a place he hasn't visited for years. There's some neatly written dialogue in this section and the parallels between the two characters' behaviour are nicely managed for comic effect.

Then Ryan Oksenberg's short - part of the Fantasia 2018 selection - shifts gears. Drew is confronted by a woman (Ana Zimhart) who holds him at knifepoint and demands he confess to something he's done in his past. He doesn't know who she is, he insists. Is this true? If not, what has he done? We are invited to fear for him and to distrust him as the confrontation develops.

This part of the film displays neither the confidence nor the skill of the earlier scenes; its conclusion feels forced and not really true to the characters. There are interesting ideas about the ways that guilt can influence the mind, but it doesn't altogether convince - nor does Zimhart get room to establish her character as the others have done. The result is a film with potential which falls a little short of the mark.

Reviewed on: 05 Aug 2018
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While surprising his fiancée with a newly inherited property, a man is forced by a mysterious woman to confront his past behaviour.

Director: Ryan Oksenberg

Writer: Matthew Wygodny

Starring: Clayton Farris, Ana Zimhart, Heather Geisler

Year: 2018

Runtime: 8 minutes

Country: US


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