We all loved Gravity didn’t we? We all loved 127 Hours? (Though I think we might have forgotten that one.) Like a lot of these damn things, Helping Hand steals the most surface-y elements of the two without actually taking into consideration why. I needn’t explain the plot, if you have literally any idea at all about those two films, you’d be able to write it yourself.
This joint has a score ripped from a 2007 era video game and an a look to match. Afghanistan. I’m sure there’s plenty of original material left to be dredged up from the war there, but Shape-Shifters, the first of this series to care to contextualise its action within a specific culture, does not. It tells a thin story about werewolves and revenge. I’d honestly reckon your average 2007 video game would be a step up.
Maybe The Dump is an articulation of the philosophy of this entire series. Everything has in it the potential to be trash, so why bother with respectability? Why not just lean into being garbage and allow yourself to become so repellent that anyone with taste will just leave you be.
Alright, this one’s pretty cute. It’s about equally gross as well. Any story about the stoic man who has to keep rescuing the flighty girl who keeps getting into trouble will kinda be. But when the girl’s a furry fox girl sex witch clockwork cyborg who wants to kill colonialist oppressors, I’m on her side. It’s almost definitely someone on the production team’s very specific fetish, but y’know, it intersects with enough of mine that I’ll allow it.
The centrepiece of this short film is a sex scene. The filmmakers obviously feel very proud of that and for the first time in this collection the care is taken to actually construct a situation in which sex is treated in a vaguely adult manner. Yet the heart clearly wasn’t in it.
Sometimes you don’t need a take. Us is pretty good, the final act didn’t quite land for me in the way that it was supposed to, but the strength of the filmmaking and the sustained tension throughout that final sequence was enough to keep me through until the end. I guessed what the twist was right at the beginning, usually it’s not something I’m good at in films, and generally I try not to make a habit of it, so those final moments maybe didn’t hit me like they did some others.
At last we come across one of these things with something to say, and it’s the shortest one of them all so far. Maybe these two things are connected. When the Yogurt took over is directed by Victor Maldonaldo & Alfredo Torres from a script by Janis Robertson.