"...and with friends like these..."
DIRECTED BY JAKE BRADEN
WRITTEN BY JAKE BRADEN AND LOGAN WOOD
There are some films which simply work better as an experience contingent on a specific state of mind. In the case of the late night movie, or midnight movie, being low on oxygen, and high on...uh...susceptibility. Opening up your mind-hole in preparation for an injection of what's likely to be an indulgence in offbeat genre absurdism. That's typically been my experience anyway. And most recently, that experience has come by way of the nightmarish works of Alan Resnick. If you've never had the pleasure of watching something crafted by the madman, then by all means, start here .
And if ya like what you see, then high chance you're going to dig what Jake Braden's got going with his short film, Francis Makes a Friend.
A college freshman goes to a dinner party to meet some new friends
Sporting a similar beat to Resnick's dark comedy segments, Braden takes the ordinary and inebriates it over the course of it's runtime, slowly slurring the narrative, and twisting the presentation until you're left with something that's nearly incoherent and intensely uncomfortable. Add a dash of mean spiritedness, and things go from being funny in a cringe sort of way, to terrifying in an inescapable hallucinogenic nightmare sort of way.
At fourteen minutes long, and broken up into themed chapter segments, you're given ample time to both understand—and settle into—the situation at hand. The titular Francis (a seeming recluse) is reluctantly pulled into one that, even if not headed for a cliff, would still be a tough ask of anyone. But the initial build up of smiles, laughs, and repoire work to not only lower Francis' defenses, but the viewer's as well. And if it wasn't for the especially potent koolaid and sadistic puppet-show-from-hell, this would have mostly been a harmless night of making friends!
Buuuuut...the dare wheel happened, the puppet show happened, and you indeed, were chased by a blood-thirsty demon-bunny straight from the depths of 1990s CG hell.
Should have just stayed home Francis.
To be honest, I started out hating this film. The first 2 acts had me cringing at the unnatural conversations and akward acting, but then BOOM, the 3rd act hit and manipulated me like the puppet I was.
It was totally out of place. I mean, did it really have anything to do with the rest of the film? Maybe not, but it was awesome and I loved it! Act 4 came in, and shit got freakier by the minute. It ultimately ended with a little disappointment, but what wild night doesn’t?