Having recently watched King Knight, I feel like Family was the perfect short to follow it. Both look at family dynamics, but in incredibly different ways. In King Knight, the film is about making a family of your choosing, picking the people you surround yourself with. Family is a bit of a different story.
With a runtime of 11 min, it is hard to talk about this film without spoiling it, but I will do my best. First, I want to talk about the setup for the film. With only 11 minutes to play with, writer/director Mark Pariselli does a fantastic job of building tension and drawing you in. When I see horror, I never know what to expect — slasher, supernatural, thriller — so I’m often at the edge of my seat in anticipation. In this case, the film’s cuts and music did a great job of amping me up. I was waiting for the worst and I’m still not sure if what I got was more or less terrifying than what I was expecting. The film is open ended and I’m normally the first to complain about the lack of obvious conclusion. This time, however, I feel like it is one of the rare instances where an unwritten ending is more terrifying than whatever would have been written. There are so many possible outcomes floating around in my head, that I would love to know someone else who has seen the film in order to discuss them. I’d also love to hear Pariselli’s take on where he thinks the film goes when the shooting stops.
The film centres around an interracial gay couple traveling out of the city around Halloween. A moment in a corn field establishes that there’s a possible interest in fatherhood, but also tensions in their families over the way these men live their lives. This leads to a debate in the car, where, for just a moment, the driver takes his eyes off the road. In most films, these types of conversations happen with the driver and passenger looking eye to eye and there’s never any consequences. This time, however, there are consequences and accidents happen. What follows the accident is surprising, the actions taken by our protagonists are not the actions that I expected to see. Those actions then also have consequences and it is those consequences that fascinated me, that I simply can’t seem to get out of my mind.
If King Knight made me think about that wonderful feeling of surrounding yourself by a loving family of your choosing, then Family made me think what happens when your choice is removed. What potential outcomes exist in that world. The final line of the film, a message that usually conveys happiness and joy, was terrifying. I’m not sure I’ll ever hear those words in the same way again. If you get the chance to check it out, hit me up on Twitter because I’d love to know your thoughts on the film’s conclusion.
If you need more evidence that you need to watch this film and think about it, when I started writing… I gave this movie 3-stars. Halfway through the write-up, I changed it to 3.5-stars, and by the time I had completed the previous paragraph, I had once again increased it, this time to 4-stars. The film grows on you the more you think about it thematically. It really was quite intriguing.
Movie title: Family
Movie description: An accident on the way to the cottage has horrifying consequences for an interracial gay couple contemplating parenthood.
Date published: 2020-03-20
Director(s): Mark Pariselli
Actor(s): Neil Paterson, Tarick Glancy , Peter Campbell, Tracy Woods
White Knuckle Flick