RUNNING TIME: 11 min
REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera, Official HCF Critic
William recounts to Abigail a time where he was walking home through an area known as ‘the witches’ path’. While Abigail suggests that William walked down the path just to see her, Willam recalls how he came across two girls called Sarah and Katrina, the former trying to help the latter, who seemed to be very drunk or even on drugs. Though initially reluctant, William was drawn in by their requests for assistance, not to mention by Katrina’s pleas for a kiss….
The Minions was actually the first of the three short films that Jeremiah Kipp sent to me to review, but for some reason I decided to view Painkiller first. Whichever way round you see the two films, the contrast between them is quite something. The Minions is far closer in style and tone to his 2012 short The Days God Slept [with which it also shares some of that film’s crew], a dream-like, rather ambiguous little tale where the viewer has to interpret much of what he or she sees for themselves. It’s simply stunningly photographed by Brian Dilg in a manner which almost makes it feel like you’re watching something in black and white even as colour is actually being very skillfully used, and with some very clever shots which comment on what we’re seeing, from vines seeming to entwine William and Abigail at one crucial moment to a half-open door blocking out one side of the screen. Black is used so well throughout that The Minions almost has the feel of a classic old-time film noir at times.
“Relatively thin isn’t it William? The razor-thin line between compassion and cruelty, between love and hate”, says the off-screen Abigail [sadly it’s the gorgeous Lauren Fox, who made such a strong appearance in The Days God Slept, who is the one who is off-screen] to our ‘hero’ William, who is standing moodily at the window. We never learn what Abigail’s role really is, but the brain is buzzing with possibilities. That’s the sort of film The Minions is, one where nothing is served up on a plate and you really have to think. We shift back and forth from William telling his story, with the odd taunt from Abigail, to his encounter with the two girls, something that initially seems like a typical encounter a guy walking home late on a Friday or Saturday night may have, and may even be pleased to have, until half way through we are given a sudden shift in dynamic and it turns out we could be watching a somewhat different story than we at first thought….though whose point of view are we really seeing, and can it be trusted?
We aren’t shown any supernatural acts, in fact there’s a disturbing normality about everything we see. Joseph Fiorillo’s dialogue sometimes manages to be both very straight-forward and multi-layered at the same time, a difficult feat. In a manner not dissimilar to The Days God Slept, how you interpret The Minions may in part depend on your own experiences with and thoughts on things such as seduction and what is real. Deceptively simple is an overused phrase but it’s entirely appropriate when concerning something like The Minions, and even if there’s a chance that I’m over-thinking things and there isn’t as much to the proceedings as I thought [I somehow doubt it though with this particular filmmaker!], one can still just admire the film for Kipp’s expert skill at creating creepy atmosphere and brooding tension.