Directed by: Ariel Hansen
Written by: Ariel Hansen
REVIEW BY JEREMIAH ROSARIO
I'm not sure how to accurately describe this gooey little short from Bad Cookie Pictures. Writer / Director Ariel Hansen spins a mean, green, darkly humorous tale about the...paralyzing mechanisms of courtship, and our vulnerability as participants...? Yeah, uh, I really don't want to give anything away, but understand that Nepenthes' surprising dabble in body horror makes this a rare little treat (at least as far as small budget, short films are concerned). Surprising, because most films of this production size typically don't - or can't - indulge in practical effects, never mind effects of this caliber. What's on display here is so convincingly (and disturbingly) effective it wouldn't feel out of place in a bigger budget feature film. We can thank special effects guru Carolyn Williams (La Quinceanera) for the spectacular results; it's quality work, and this polish seems to permeate all aspects of the film's production.
Nepenthes is shot well, performed well, and - in my humble opinion - does so much better at what M. Night Shyamalan partly set out to do with The Happening (while similarly making room for biting social commentary). It really is an impressive feat, and I definitely wouldn't mind seeing the concept fleshed out and stretched to something that runs a little longer. Certainly what's there is fantastic, my gushing should indicate that, but if Bad Cookie Pictures ever attempts to dive into more ambitious endeavors, I have no doubt the end result will be something truly special.
You can catch Nepenthes for yourself this September 1st at the Horrible Imagining Film Festival, and later that month on the 29th during the Chick Flicks Film Festival. Stay tuned for more information on further future scheduled screenings.