Something Image


By Lorry Kikta | February 25, 2019

Stephen Portland’s debut film, Something, which he both wrote and directed, is brilliantly executed. Taking place inside one house over the span of a couple of days, we follow an unnamed couple (Michael Gazin and Jane Rowen) through their journey of first-time parenthood. The wife is exhausted from continually being woken up by the new baby, and the husband isn’t doing too much better. It’s obvious that both parents are having a little bit of trouble adjusting to life with a newborn.

The wife sees a man in the baby monitor. The husband doesn’t believe her…”

Both parents are doing weird things. The mother (she is unnamed and only credited as “woman”) accidentally locks the door and keeps the window open to the nursery. The father is supposed to go on a trip and find his packed suitcase and passport in the trashcan. The wife sees a man in the baby monitor. The husband doesn’t believe her until he, too, sees a man dressed as a doctor, but this time in the house. It’s hardly coincidental at one point in the film the wife/mother can be seen singing “Ring Around The Rosies” to their young son.

After the second time, when the husband sees the man in the costume, the wife calls the police. The baby is outside, and the masked man is nowhere. The cop (Joel Clark Ackerman) is suspicious and feels like both parents might be on drugs or drunk. When he discovers this is not the case, he says he will come back around later at the end of his shift. He maybe shouldn’t have left.

“…a masterfully intelligent, delightfully spooky meditation on the dark side of being a first-time parent.”

The film is short (an hour and twenty-four minutes) and deceptively simple. Its short length doesn’t deter from the excellence of Portland’s storytelling; it only amplifies it. Something is a masterfully intelligent, delightfully spooky meditation on the dark side of being a first-time parent. It also illustrates the power of a mother’s intuition and how all-encompassing post-partum depression can be for both the mother and the father.

However, once you reach the end and you see the great cameo from the inimitable Eric Roberts, you might yell at the conclusion. Not saying it’s bad, but one may be frustrated (in a good way) that all the facts were in front of them the whole time, but they didn’t know it. It’s a wonderful mystery in horror film clothing. I’m sincerely looking forward to seeing what Portland comes up with in the future. Something is an incredibly solid debut feature.

Something (2019) Written and Directed by Stephen Portland. Starring Michael Gazin, Jane Rowen, Joel Clark Ackerman, Evan Carver, Elise Zell, and Eric Roberts.

8 out of 10

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  1. Meera says:

    I dont get why the baby was not poisoned as well

  2. Karla Clements says:

    This movie is a GEM. The ending blew me away! Kudos to the creatve mind (minds) for such clever writing.

  3. Kristi says:

    The signs of carbon monoxide poisoning were all over the place. Wife kept getting headaches extremely fatigued, locking doors and opening the windows without any memory of it, leaving knives in weird places, and just doing weird things with no memory. Not to mention their hot water / heating issues, and smoke alarm going off, which was actually most likely carbon monoxide detector. As far as all three of them seeing the plague doctor….. if you remember actually it was only the husband who saw the plague doctor up until the point he described it in front of the police and his wife, it wasn’t till then that they both started having those same hallucinations. Sure the movie seems slow, but I think that was part of its beauty. And actually felt in the end, the director writer duped in a really smart way.

  4. rosemary crawford George says:

    who put the baby outside, twice in fresh air ?

    • Juliana Zito says:

      That’s what I can’t work out!!!

    • Cole says:

      The first time the baby is put outside, it’s not clear but we can assume the woman put him out there, because he’s swaddled the way she normally does it. The second time, it’s definitely the woman. Watch the scene again, as the man goes to bed she says she’ll just be a minute and then opens the door and goes straight outside. The film is full of little things like that you need to pay attention to, but really it’s only a second viewing where they become apparent.

    • Karla Clements says:

      “Death” removed the baby from harm both times. Like so many other times when a lone survivor in something like a mass casualty explosion or plane crash…the question is “Why did I survive”? If you allow the movie to have a touch of supernatural, Death arrived as a Plague doctor…but for reasons only known to Death, he spared the child.

  5. Nonya says:

    “all the facts were in front of them the whole time”??? Where did you see any signs of carbon monoxide poisoning? Who moved the baby outside? Why did the cop see the same crappy paper mache masked “Plauge Dr.” Was that supposed to represent death? This movie wasn’t scary at all. It was two people being helicopter parents making themselves tired. I’ve had many friends with kids who know when to just let a baby cry itself to sleep. That kid would have grown up spoiled to death. (Not a good idea most the time mind you, they still need attention and love.) To me the best part about this movie was hearing SungWon Cho’s voice during their movie. It was slow, boring and could have been handled much better as a true horror/thriller while still coming to the same conclusion. It was one large PSA about Carbon Monoxide poisoning which was ruined by the fact that everyone (well all 3 characters) saw the same poorly dressed Plauge Dr. which, WHY? This is the first review I’ve seen swooning over this movie. I have a feeling you were paid.

    • Cole says:

      Nonya it sounds like this movie might have gone over your head. They all see the doctor that matches the man’s description because he suggests its appearance to them, but the reason the figure looks the same to *us* is because we are in the house with them going through the same thing, and that’s the form he takes in our eyes.

    • Karla Clements says:

      If you choose to view this movie in a purely clinical way your criticisms are valid. However, there is room to believe that “Death” does indeed hold a persona, and in this case “Death” arrives in the form of a plague doctor. Like many unexplainable accounts of lone survivors in the midst of a tragedy… “Death” removed the baby from harm because it did not want to claim the child.

  6. Greg says:

    Saw this at Action on Film festival last year. Loved it. A whole theater jumping at the sight of a bowl of cereal! A little surprised I haven’t heard more about it since. Hope it gets some attention in the ‘intelligent horror’ category that seems to be opening up.

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