Writer-director Sasha Nelson’s thriller short, Fish Out of Water, opens in a small girl’s bedroom. An overly protective mother, Lorelei (Shannon Amiry), reminds daughter Evie (Charlotte Ewing) of why they moved so abruptly to their remote town. Although the two are not safe, Lorelei is determined to protect Evie. They end by going over the house rules: don’t leave the house, don’t talk to strangers, and don’t leave your room after 8 pm.
Frustrated by being a prisoner in her home, Evie finds a friend in a little girl living next door named Olive (Annie Tisdale). Whenever they play or hang out, it all has to be hidden from the controlling Lorelei. But, of course, in thrillers, there are no secrets.
“…don’t leave the house, don’t talk to strangers, and don’t leave your room after 8…”
There’s a lot of good storytelling in Fish Out of Water, and it would be a sin to reveal too much. But there is more to this story than meets the eye. The star here is Sasha Nelson’s story and direction, even if you’re clever enough to know where the plot is headed. She has tight control over how secrets are revealed, making her film feel fresh. Even better, her cast (particularly the children) knows exactly how to slowly ratchet the tension from start to finish. As a filmmaker, shot composition, camera angles, music, and sound work together perfectly.
If you’re looking to wear out the edge of your seat, Fish Out of Water offers a nice tight little narrative to do just that.
"…knows exactly how to slowly ratchet the tension..."