Succulent depicts the story of a wandering woman (Joslyn Jensen) attempting to find more than shelter, but peace as well. When this young woman has nowhere to go, she travels around town attempting to find somewhere to stay (even if it’s temporary) and is unsuccessful. She eventually finds a place, simply due to the fact that the front door is open, and makes her way inside. Once inside, she makes herself a little too comfortable as she begins a series of odd routines. As the owner of the house (Davis Choh) realizes there is a stranger in his home, the peace that was once hoped for may no longer be possible. Regardless, this experience will change both of their lives.
This is one of the strangest films I’ve seen in a long time. The premise, other than a wandering, possibly psychotic woman, looking for a place to stay, takes some time to understand. The importance of what is right in front of viewers takes nearly the entire film to understand in full. In the opening moments, the woman takes part in a series of what can only be described as rituals as she makes this stranger’s home her new place of solace. It seems, at first, that the entire film would contain nothing besides especially dry humor, no dialogue, and these series of events that make little to no sense to the viewers. As Succulent progresses, it becomes clear that the woman needs more than just a place to stay, there is an emotional void that lingers within and is representative of nearly every person on the planet.
“…a wandering, possibly psychotic, woman, looking for a place to stay…”
The ability of writer-director Paul Taylor, along with co-writer Jensen, to create a film with such little dialogue and very little content and still reach audiences on an emotional level is fabulous. It is hard enough to reach modern audiences as it is, but to, for the most part, omit dialogue (the driving force behind most films) makes it harder still. Succulent manages to, however, attack audiences’ feelings and allow them to feel the discomfort present in the characters. Their lives are not what they seem, and a genuine human connection is something that they desperately desire. Throughout the short film, audiences can identify with the need for someone else to provide both meaning and solace. With audiences relating to the impulses of the woman, Succulent takes on a new meaning and sparks interest in a number of surprising ways.
For a short time, the woman opens up to her new “friend” and divulges some revealing information about herself. Her vulnerability resonates with audiences and allows them to appreciate her pain, sorrow, and optimism. Her outlook on the world is incredibly realistic, allowing viewers to see that her world mirrors theirs in many ways.
Succulent ironically keeps audiences on edge as the woman makes her way around the stranger’s house, but also provides a chuckle or two along the way. The acting is adequate, the story is full of relatable vulnerability, and it has the strange ability to cause some anxiety among viewers. It’s hard to say that Succulent is a remarkable piece of work, but it does compare emotionally to some of the better films I’ve seen in recent memory.
"…compare[s] emotionally to some of the better films I’ve seen in recent memory."