Sometimes, I Think About Dying


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Sometimes, I Think About Dying
"Stefanie Abel Horowitz's carefully structured short explores a kind of horror rarely touched upon in cinema: the empty ache of anhedonia." | Photo: Courtesy of Fantasia International Film Festival

Every day is the same for Fran (Katy Wright-Mead). She wakes up in her room, in her town, in her state, in the universe. She goes to work in the office. She does her job. She comes home. Sometimes she thinks about dying.

Robert (Jim Sarbh) also works in the office and seems to like her - or does he just want to fuck her? She doesn't say it expressly but something suggests that that would be the safer option. It's warmth, communication, that she doesn't know how to deal with. Many viewers will be able to relate to this - those moments when somebody is expecting one to say something and one's mind goes blank. What is there to say? Robert seems to find this hesitancy on her part mysterious, intriguing. It inspires him to persist, asking her out on date, trying to draw her out of herself. But what if he doesn't like what he sees?

Copy picture

Sometimes she wonders if he might want to kill her.

Shot in natural colour but with a cool palette of greys and whites under overcast skies, Stefanie Abel Horowitz's carefully structured short, which screened at the Fantasia International Film Festival, explores a kind of horror rarely touched upon in cinema: the empty ache of anhedonia. There is something about Robert that Fran likes yet nothing brings her pleasure and she seems unable to imagine a world in which it might. Physically she can function like anyone else but the only thing that arouses any emotional passion in her is the thought of her own extinction. What would it mean to tell him that? Would opening up in that way be another kind of self-destruction?

Wright-Mead is impressive in the lead, her initially blank face hinting at deep emotion below the surface, her reticent manner speaking as much to what Fran could be as to what she is. Hororwitz's shooting style is clipped, clinical. The warmth that Sarbh brings seems out of place; far more natural the thought of hanging from the tree outside the window.

Reviewed on: 12 Aug 2019
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Sometimes, I Think About Dying packshot
Fran likes to think about dying. When she makes a guy in the office laugh, he wants more - a movie date, a slice of pie, a conversation. But if dating him means learning to live, she's pretty sure she can't do that.

Director: Stefanie Abel Horowitz

Writer: Stefanie Abel Horowitz, based on the play by Kevin Armento

Starring: Jim Sarbh, Katy Wright-Mead

Year: 2019

Runtime: 12 minutes

Country: US


Fantasia 2019

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