Good short films open with an interesting idea as its little plot points are revealed like a puzzle as the story plays out. In writer/director/producer Vincent Anton Obriskie and Dominic Traverzo’s Reggie, we meet an elderly gentleman (Larry Strauss) waking up to another mundane day consisting of taking a shower, mowing the lawn, gardening, building birdhouses, drinking, and finding solace by placing his hand on a mysterious box.
Tired of the routine, Reggie goes for a stroll around the neighborhood. Upon his return, he is greeted by a mysterious man known as Jailer (Larry Thompson), who warns Reggie to go inside, take a shower and forbids Reggie from straying away from the house ever again. Making matters worse, Reggie’s neighbors are always stopping by out of concern for the lonely elderly gentleman, none-the-wiser to Reggie’s true origin, that he’s an exiled alien living next door. Their compassion soon becomes Reggie’s downfall.
“…an elderly gentleman waking up to another mundane day consisting of taking a shower, mowing the lawn, gardening…and finding solace…in a mysterious box.”
Obriskie and Traverzo’s Reggie continues to show aspiring filmmakers that it’s easier than ever to make a short film, even in the sci-fi genre. Clearly a microbudget production, they make most of their single location, finding interesting shots and thoughtful framing. They also employ a few CG and practical effects at the end that are quite ingenious.
That said, the acting leaves a lot to be desired. Rehearsals before production can be a valuable asset and help make the dialog feel natural, especially when you’re splicing lines together in post.
Reggie’s story is pretty straightforward about an exiled alien, serving his life sentence doomed in a 3 bedroom/2 bath home in the South. In the end, we find out why Reggie lives in exile and the sacrifice he made to be here.
“…continues to show aspiring filmmakers that it’s easier than ever to make a short film, even in the sci-fi genre.”
Elements of the aliens’ origin, like their powers and abilities, exist only to serve the story being told but seems odd for an alien race to possess. For example, when the jailer gets angry, he inflates like a toad, and his voice becomes menacing. Not sure, how on the evolutionary scale this ability has aided the survival of the species. The mysterious box is another interesting idea in the story, but how does this relate to the aliens’ story. Again, it just feels like a convenient story device.
Look, I get this criticism is pretty nitpicky, but addressing a few of the issues could have elevated the short from the 6 rating it received, to an 8 or a 9 it had the potential of reaching. It seems the purpose of this film was to show the fate of the exiled alien. One thing the filmmakers could have done to boost their short film to a higher rating was to focus on a theme and build around it. Maybe focusing on the reason and sacrifice Reggie made in choosing exile and let that theme play out in every scene leading up to the end (particularly in the way he interacts with his neighbors), it would have brought greater depth to the overall story and characters.
Reggie (2018) Written and directed by Anton Obriskie, Dominic Traverzo. Starring Larry Strauss, Larry Thompson.
6 out of 10 stars