This is a review of the short film Spider directed by Nash Egerton. Beware of spoilers.
I enjoyed the short film Spider, the story was short, cohesive, the characters felt very real and what looked to be a predictable plot contained more than one surprise. The chemistry and the difficulties between the central couple was very well written and acted, however the characters were not likeable. Not that matters, characters don’t need to be likeable for a story to be good, but they do need to be likeable to a certain degree for the audience to sympathise with them, and my sympathy for these characters turned off very quickly.
The set- of the plot is strong, the opening card which reads “ “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye”- Mum “ and the dialogue, Jill saying how her boyfriend, Jack, always takes it “too far”, foreshadowing that something is going to go wrong and it will be the boyfriend’s fault. The ensuing action, Jack buying flowers and chocolates for Jill to make up for whatever wrong he did, made me warm to the character momentarily, but then he also bought a toy spider which he put in Jill’s overhead mirror. These events, combined with the foreshadowing, immediately told me what was going to happen; Jil would warm to Jack thanks to the flowers and chocolates, only for the prank, the spider, to cause a car accident and someone to be hurt.
This is where my sympathy ended for Jack, the moment he put the spider under the mirror, because even without foreshadowing or narrative cues it should obvious to any normal person that this action is extremely dangerous. He’s placing something to deliberately frighten his girlfriend while she’s driving, that’s obviously likely to result in a car accident, he’s asking for trouble and I can’t feel bad for him. My sympathy for Jill too is majorly reduced when she plays his game, grabbing at the chocolates he holds with her mouth while driving, looking away from the road, not focusing on what’s she’s doing. Both of these characters seem to lack common sense, so I can’t feel that bad for either of them.
There’s a brilliant moment of fake-out, followed by shock, when Jill manages to swerve out of the road without a crash, following the inevitable surprise of the spider. It seems crisis is averted, only for Jack to toss the spider at her, saying “look, it’s fake” and her to jump back into the path of a passing car. The impact is so sudden it really hits and shocks the viewer. This impact is reinforced by the long, slow, deliberate pan to Jack, his response is not immediate, he takes a long moment to process what just happened. This easily could have been the ending of the film, which makes the following scene the true genius of this piece.
As paramedics examine Jill, Jack badgers them, getting in their way as he tries to get near Jill. This certainly is realistic, human of the character to show such concern, but this just strengthens my dislike for him, he caused the accident and needs to let the paramedics do their damn job. Then, when the paramedic moves Jill comes the true surprise of the film which brings the narrative back to opening statement; the toy spider, the catalyst for all these events, is underneath Jill, causing the paramedic to recoil from it and accidentially stab a needle into Jack’s eye in the process. “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye”.
Andrew Sheller is a Media Production student at Coventry University. You can see more content from Andrew at their Facebook page through this link.