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A dangerous allegory for relationships that become an entrapment of one’s own mind.
After an impressive first film, “The Battery” (2012), a buddy comedy zombie flick, director Jeremy Gardner returns but this time with co-director Christian Stella for a rom-com horror film, ‘Something Else‘ that puts you between a terrible heartbreak and a mysterious monster.
The film opens up in the past with Hank (Jeremy Gardner) courting Abby (Brea Grant) on her birthday by showing her a huge house that he inherited from his family. Radio static and badly aged peanut wine becomes a picture perfect setup for romance and flirtatious banter. Soon Abby finds a mix tape with another women’s name (Julie) on it, which she calls him out on and he responds with, “it’s one song and you repeat it over and over.” Which turns out to be a looped reflection of their relationship throughout the film. As the banter gets heated, “What was your plan? Were you just going to kill me or kill me then eat me afterwards?” Hank goes down on Abby. She reaches her climax which transitions into the present time of a screeching monster and that’s when it cuts to a disoriented Hank aiming his shotgun and firing towards a door that is blocked off by a couch.
‘Something Else‘ follows a fragmented formula of past and present. Just alone from the description above, the films first 10 minutes is jam packed with foreshadowing of the issues of this couples relationship. The house that Hank can’t repair becomes anchor of his conformity. The mix tape that sums up the ten years of their relationship. Think about it this way, the joy and romance felt once you hear the song for the first time then those emotions gradually start fading when the same exact song loops over and over continuously with nothing new. “You use to look at me like you couldn’t believe I existed. Like you couldn’t believe your luck. And now you hardly look at me at all.” Even the peanut wine becomes a device for their ten year relationship.
The mystery of the monsters symbolizes Hank’s struggle to understand Abby’s abrupt departure. Abby leaves a note on a kitchen cabinet and goes away for four weeks without letting him know where she was. Within these four weeks Hank gets visited by a monster every night that growls and scratches the front door trying to get in. The film slowly explores and teases the audience insinuating if there was or wasn’t a monster. It’s a look into Hanks mental state as he goes into madness. The monster is Abby’s desire to break open the double doors leading her to her freedom to a life of “Art and Culture and food that isn’t brown”. Each scratch on the door also represents Abby’s concerns and pressure of marriage and children, of being in a relationship with no direction, “Now I’m thirty-year-old, unmarried, childless, bar manager that lives in the sticks.”
On the flip side Hank puts a couch to prevent the door from opening, his own defense, a form of denial. Even the hole that he blasted into the door is his narrow selfish view of their relationship. Talk about on the nose metaphor when Hank set up a bare tarp with a long chain that goes through the narrow hole and into the house. That old ball and chin.
The film concludes to Abby returning the day before her birthday but I don’t want to spoil the ending because the film is worth watching. Directors, Jeremy Gardner and Christian Stella pull off this great and well executed scene that involves Lisa Loeb’s, “Stay (I Missed You)” and Hank finally opening the doors to fight his monster for a new life. THAT SCENE IS TOTALLY NUTS!
What makes ‘Something Else‘ is the naturalistic performance of both Jeremy Gardner and Brea Grant. They both seem very believable as a worn torn couple. Even the goofball friend, Wade, played by Henry Zebrowski was a breath of fresh air to a film that is considered a slow burn. The dual directing by Gardner and Grant served up a good balance of pacing out the scenes for a coherent story and creating an understanding and relatable subject matter that keeps an audience involved. Overall the film is a dangerous allegory for relationships that become an entrapment of one’s own mind. ‘Something Else‘ is worth watching.
Catch the World Premiere of ‘Something Else‘ at the Tribeca Film Festival starting on April 26th, 2019. For ticket information visit: www.tribecafilm.com/filmguide/something-else-2019
Screening Time and Date:
8:45 PM – FRI 4/26 VILLAGE EAST CINEMA-03
7:00 PM – SAT 4/27 REGAL CINEMAS BATTERY PARK 11-3
9:15 PM – SUN 4/28 REGAL CINEMAS BATTERY PARK 11-9
6:45 PM – SUN 5/5 VILLAGE EAST CINEMA-04
For small-town bar owner Hank (Jeremy Gardner), his 10-year relationship with Abby (Brea Grant) has been storybook-quality. Abby, however, wants more: marriage, to be exact, which Hank doesn’t seem ready to initiate anytime soon. As a result, she leaves him without so much as a note or any subsequent communication. Hank is crushed. Even worse, Abby’s departure seemingly triggers the arrival of an unseen monster that claws at Hank’s front door at night. As the nocturnal threat intensifies, Hank must figure out how to not only save his relationship, but also himself.
- Director: Jeremy Gardner and Christian Stella
- Producer: David Lawson Jr., Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Arvind Harinath
- Screenwriter: Jeremy Gardner
- Cinematographer: Christian Stella
- Editor: Christian Stella and Jeremy Gardner
- Executive Producer: Venu Kunnappilly
- Cast: Jeremy Gardner, Brea Grant, Henry Zebrowski, Justin Benson, Ashley Song, Nicola Masciotra
- Production: Rustic Films and Kavya Films