Gardenia Image


By Alan Ng | October 19, 2021

I mean, deep down, we all know the Apocalypse is coming and like soon… right? In the short film, Gardenia, director Caleb King and writer/lead actor Eva Swan take us to the last vestiges of a world where a deadly virus has ravaged 95% of the population.

The sci-fi story centers on a lone survivor (Eva Swan) venturing into the empty streets of Los Angeles as she is compelled by fate to reach her final destination. Alone, she treks into the center of the city, hoping to lay low, but finds that she must fend off a marauder interested in only stealing her backpack full of supplies. So where is she going and why?

“…the last vestiges of a world where a deadly virus has ravaged 95% of the population.”

Running at over fifteen minutes, Gardenia captures the emotions and anxieties of being alone in a world where surviving by nightfall is the goal. While not just an action-adventure tale, the film juxtaposes the current reality with what was once “normal.” It successfully hits on the themes of isolation and loneliness, paranoia and mistrust, and lost hope.

Gardenia succeeds in its vision of creating a dystopian future. I’m sure the pandemic had a lot to do with the plethora of shots of an empty Los Angeles. I also appreciate that this is more than just an excuse to make an action movie. Plus, lead Eva Swan layers a great deal of emotion in her performance. Most of her character’s feelings come through the eyes and physical movements. It’s that perfect blend between the physical and emotional in storytelling that makes this worthy of your time.

Gardenia (2021)

Directed: Caleb King

Written: Eva Swan

Starring: Eva Swan, Aidan Bristow, Kyle Shaw, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

Gardenia Image

"…succeeds in its vision of creating a dystopian future on film."

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