By Mark Bell | April 1, 2014

A young woman, Hilda (Diana Sawatzky), is walking in the woods when she is attacked by an unseen assailant. Shortly thereafter, our woods wanderer is tied to a post, being berated by another woman, Adoree (Dakota Hebert), who is aggressively inquiring about an amulet the former has supposedly taken. The rub here is that each woman speaks a different language, and the only thing they seem to find in common is a penchant for violence towards the other. In this case, the captive becomes the aggressor, murdering her captor.

Or does she? Dead doesn’t appear to actually mean dead in this short tale, and the amulet-seeker finds her way back from the grave. Which is around the time traveling gunslingers O’Donoghue (Callen Diederichs) and Delacroix (Charles Lemire) show up.

The latest from Callen Diederichs, Local Girls, continues the filmmaker’s narrative world-building, introducing a new element to his saga of short films, while continuing to work in familiar characters.

There’s always been an air of mystery surrounding O’Donoghue and Delacroix, and this film doesn’t do much to lessen that so much as make things even more enigmatic. And the result, of all of the films Diederichs has made thus far with these characters (that I’ve seen), this one feels the most elusive to me. Which is saying something, because it’s not like the previous shorts are easy to digest either. Hell, all these films feel like having spotty memory; you get just enough to make some sense of it, but it never really ever comes together completely.

Here, the tale of Hilda and Adoree throws a bit of a curve, particularly as their dynamic evolves over the course of the film. This, coupled with the strange, supernatural elements that follow, spins the overall world that Diederichs has established in his previous films from one of eccentricity, though still somewhat realistic, into an entirely new orbit. What exactly are the rules now, what do these characters represent?

So if you’ve been following these films, like I have, or at least have been following my reviews of these films, know that I am still very much intrigued. That said, if Local Girls didn’t exist within this greater narrative that is being created over multiple films, I don’t know that it would be even as accessible as it barely is (an issue the previous films share if taken solo). Little sense is made from beginning to end, honestly, and everything seems to be explained by an interest in obtaining, or re-obtaining, the amulet. In other words, as a stand-alone short film piece, it might be too unapproachable for its own good.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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