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I used to major in short films here at THiNC. I’ve even written a little bit over at sites like filmshortage. But I realized there weren’t enough hours in the day to cover both 100 minutes films and 15 minute films as well. Kills me though, because pretty much every short film maker was almost always ready and willing to give interviews and talk about their films. They are a cool bunch. I even got invited to go to Cannes with one particularly cool short film maker. But alas, we all have to grow up one day. 

Well, the other day, when I was chatting with Jason Dolan about his movie, Enter Nowhere, he totally tipped me off to a friends of his named Damon Russell and he tipped me to his work. Particularly a movie called Snow On Tha Bluff, which I’m sure I’ll be talking about here soon enough. But he also mentioned a short film called Cul-De-Sac… which, blew, my, mind. 

Let me say that it is not rare for a short film to stick with me and to just keep coming back to me, because short films are the masters of ambience and feeling. They are the emotional equivalent of getting T-boned in an intersection. So yeah, you will remember that. But with Cul-De-Sac, 3 hours later I’d stop in my tracks and say… oh no WAY! As things in that short kept coming back to me. 

Here, just go watch it right now It’s like $2 if you don’t own Prime. It’s free if you prime it.

Still don’t think you should watch it (a pox on you and your pet chihuahua.) Fine, watch this trailer, and you’ll see like 30% of the movie. But trust me, it’s worth even the 2 dollars (I WANT MY TWO DOLLARS!) 

Now, the reason I selfishly shoved this short down your throat? Because I want to know what I’m missing. Someone freaking walk me through this little movie dangit. I don’t want to spoil it for you guys before you watch. But there is a lot going on here that doesn’t meet the eye. Especially the party scene. Way way more going on that I just don’t get. I plan to ask Damon personally here soon, but I can’t walk up to him and say, “so yeah, I totally loved your babysitter short. The issues about babysitters and babysitting are just not well understood in the world today. We need more movies in their corner!” Eh? Right? 

So yeah, let’s all just assume that the comments section will be the place to discuss the spoilers, alright? So come on. Fill me in! Walk me through it. Who is this couple. What were they trying to find out? Why, why what, how, where, who why, why it, it what? You get the idea. Alright, so there you have it… help me out would ya?

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3 Responses

  1. Chris T

    Quasi-spoilers below. Watched it. Very good of course! But like most all who’ve watched it and commented on it, I feel a tad more cheated, less satisfied —> specifically within the convention of a short film. It feels kinda like a film school project. Professor’s Instructions: Pick and film a few scenes from a motion picture, get some good actors to really nail it, film it fantastically, really make those few scenes shine! Whoever does best job, gets an A+++. And so, yeah, Damon Russell and Shawn Christensen would get the A+++ for sure (if that were the assignment)! I do get this feeling that they did NOT craft this short to be de-crypted (in other words, I don’t think they included any kind of plot-TRUTH, which might be deeply hidden in the subtext layers). I just don’t think it’s there. Rather, I think they knew they were having some fun, and they made an exciting, amazing ‘segment’, for the sake of the segment itself. But to me, as a short, it feels incomplete. If you can get an interview and ask the tough questions to the filmmakers, I hope to be proven wrong! As for my own decode, the first thing that came to my mind as I watched it was the tv show THE AMERICANS. Seemed to fit that kind of template. We’ve got a couple (young kid in tow), and they speak everything from French, to Russian (inferred), to Croatian. The wife has an accent, but didn’t quite catch what it was. At one point, I swear the husband slipped into an accent for a word or two (must re-check that). I think the babysitter was an orchestrated ‘comrade’ of sorts, an agent good at working the house, and then finally giving them a “breach” alert text. I think the film is all about the deceptive nature of our quaint Norman Rockwell neighborhoods (I used to live in a cul de sac myself, it was sooooo enclosed, self-contained, like a lost place) — if only one dares to penetrate that external facade. Damon and Shawn – you know what to do. Make this into a full length movie!

  2. Chris T.

    I also didn’t quite get what the babysitter was doing with the Radio Shack alarm clock. She fiddled with it, then she clicked a button in the back which removed the actual time display, and left just a single red diode glowing. What did she do, and did she know what she was doing? Is this some kind of subtle ‘HAL’ reference? I like that it was a Radio Shack radio… how I miss the brick and mortar Radio Shacks. It was my home away from home in the 80’s.

  3. Kyle

    I think the clock is only supposed to have one of the LEDs lit at a time for either AM or PM. She knew something was wrong when she saw both lit at the same time. One LED stayed lit when she unplugged the radio so indicating the clock was messed with.


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