Five friends gather together to walk one another through to the next progression in Paul Robinson and Sashia Dumont’s short film, A Vital Sign. Away in a cabin, somewhere in the woods, Emma (Sashia Dumont), Pam (Petra Denison), Neil (Kieron J. Anthony), Manny (Ryan Katzer), and Roselyn (Kat Lindsay) spend their last 36 hours together before moving on to the next plane of progression.
Their final hours together are spent chanting and reaffirming their commitment and unity with one another, playing pokers, and making final preparations before going to their closing ceremony. The friends are close, particularly Emma and Pam, and the prospects of moving on to the next level of human progression is quite daunting.
“…spend their last 36 hours together before moving on to the next plane of progression.”
Robinson and Dumont’s story gives us a glimpse into the final hours of this group’s existence, including moments of great anticipation in some and seeds of doubt in others, and then finally to the end…the end end…the final end.
A Vital Sign is an example of excellent storytelling. The narrative itself is pretty straightforward, especially if you’re old like me and remember Jonestown and the Heaven’s Gate cult. I’ll always be haunted by the images of dozens of lifeless bodies huddled together in the final act of faith.
Dumont’s story captures the seemingly “normal” behavior and resolve of these members and pokes gently at their faith and commitment. Robinson’s direction brilliantly reveals vital information throughout the short to keep audiences engaged to the very end. It masterfully captures a spiritual, yet dreamlike conclusion with an eerie button to cap it all off.
"…masterfully captures a spiritual, yet dreamlike conclusion with an eerie button to cap it..."