by Tim Birkbeck
Everyone remembers the days of house parties and people playing pranks on each other to impress their peers or, more importantly, to impress a girl.
However, for South Australian-produced short film Smashed, this is a prank fuelled by jealousy which seemingly takes a twist leaving the viewer scratching their heads.
The 12-minute short opens with Christian (Leo Santangelo) on the phone to his girlfriend, being bundled into the boot of a car by three guys who all have masks on.
Jealousy leads the trio of Dean (Toby Wallace), Ray (Harrison Gilbertson) and Paul (Henry Reimer Meaney) to kidnap golden-boy Christian so Dean can gain the attention of Christian’s girlfriend Jess (Sarah Jeavons).
But the prank goes off the beaten track and what follows is something hard to comprehended for cast and audience.
What happens next is that the four are trapped in a Groundhog Day situation where they are destined to relive the same nightmare over and over as both Dean and Christian battle for the affection of the girl they love, leading to deadly consequences.
For such a short film it can be difficult to portray exactly the message you want, but for director Sean Lahiff, it is more about the end payoff rather the running narrative.
Smashed is the second part of a feature film horror anthology by the team behind the multi-award winning Too Dark, and it is no surprise that this short is also up for a number of awards.
At times the shortness of the actual story can seem a bit confusing, especially when the four leading men are stood in the middle of the South Australian bush and hear a car crash, but as already mentioned it is the payoff that makes you realise, oh this is just going to keep going on.
One thing which is consistent throughout it the incredible camera work and imagery used. For example the firing of the engine when the car ignition is turned on, the focus on the number plate and the build-up to the final shot is just beautiful.
Smashed has collected an unprecedented five South Australian Screen Awards (SASAs). Second generation filmmaker Sean Lahiff received gongs for ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Editor’, while producer Michael Clarkin was presented the South Australian Film Corporation’s ‘Best Short Film’ Award.
Even though it is only 12 minutes long, Smashed does make the view think “what is going on” but brings it home with a cracking last shot wrapping up for a nice conclusion.
Dir: Sean Lahiff
Scr: Sean Lahiff and Dave Haddin
Starring: Toby Wallace, Leo Santangelo, Harrison Gilbertson, Henry Reimer Meaney and Sarah Jeavons
Prd: Michael Clarkin
Music: Ken Stringfellow
Run time: 12 minutes