Beyond Repair (2017) - USA - Horror - Not Rated
Independent Short Subject - Robbie Barnes - 8 Mins
Written and Directed by Robbie Barnes
Starring Kinsley Funari, Jesse Dillon Sorrells, Ember Burns, Christopher Kyriakides, George Tutie, Robbie Barnes
Connects at the most modest level of the everyday to magnificently bring to the screen a story with the power to become an indelible fable in our collective media consciousness.
It happens billions of times a day; somebody has to go to the bathroom. When it hits and you are traveling the choices are random, and tonight's random stop for Jorah won't exactly have her flushed with excitement.
The movie starts off with a premise most any of us are familiar with, and that is traveling and having to pull over somewhere to use the bathroom. Certainly Kinsley Funari's anxious dance as she holds it in will hit home with all of us. As well what hits home is how that overwhelming feeling to go can prioritize itself over any rudimentary sense of caution.
Driving down the road, a graduation tassel hangs on the rear-view mirror as the car radio plays. This could be any one of us and a strength with Beyond Repair is that oh so common connection it sets up from the start. The viewer can certainly sympathize with the situation Jorah is in, and without knowing anything about her, her occupation, what she likes, what she doesn't like, we don't need to know any of that because the situation transcends the unfamiliar and instantly acquiesces us into a "what would I do" frame of mind.
One thing that popped into my head watching this was a segment from the film Body Bags that takes place at a service station; of course you know the protagonist is in trouble when Wes Craven himself makes an appearance. One of the problems with that film and a problem with many anthology films and TV series of the 80s, 90s, and hence who took their inspiration from The Twilight Zone was in getting the look down, but not the spirit of The Twilight Zone.
Beyond Repair has certainly captured that spirit, not in copying The Twilight Zone mind you but in knowing that it is what is at the heart of the story that is important, not the trappings of the story. In a similar way to The Twilight Zone episode The Hitch-Hiker the mechanics of how and why things happen in relation to the mundane are unimportant; it's the story and that's where Beyond Repair shines is in telling its story. Beyond Repair has the heart and soul of Twilight Zone and the new car smell of modern filmmaking.
Robbie Barnes' story and direction is intuitive with its subject and drawing the viewer into the protagonist's world to bring the viewer into sympathizing with the main character. Rather than focusing on a rationalization of the elements of the story instead those very elements become the palette from which she paints onto a cinematic canvas a picture of ghoulish deluge.
At the heart of any story is the protagonist who either draws us into the story, or puts us off of it. That responsibility ultimately rests on the shoulders of Kinsley Funari. Physically, with an adorable sweetness to her face and girl next door looks, she is an ideal choice. Ultimately though appearance is just the tip of the iceberg and the rest of that iceberg brings a real person to the screen who gives you good reason to feel for her character.
Supporting performances from Jesse Dillon Sorrells and Ember Burns add to the overall fright with Sorrells pumping a thick eeriness into the already haunting atmosphere and Burns lavishes ever so lovingly in the gruesomeness of her role.
Do not try to rationalize the story. Rationalization is its own defense mechanism; we try to talk away the things that scare us. If you do find yourself trying to rationalize it, then it scared you more than you thought it did... or are willing to admit.
My Rating: 5 Fingers; I give it a high five!