Directed by: Matti Leinikka, Eddie Smucygz Written by: Matti Leinikka, Eddie Smucygz Starring: Tatiana Ronderos, Matti Leinikka, Bryan Hamilton, Eddie Smucygz Short Film Review by: Chris Olson
An unconventional drama with lashings of psychological edginess, short film Scrying, from filmmakers Matti Leinikka and Eddie Smucygz, is a window into the experience of two characters whose identities and personalities make them an awkward fit with “normal” society.
Tatiana Ronderos plays Harper, a troubled young woman with multiple personalities, whose journey through life seems marred by an internal divide. Her ability to assimilate with those around her is relatively impressive, aside from the obvious facial distress she experiences when her internal dialogues are clashing. Equally as troubled is Frederick (Matti Leinikka), whose menacing, even brutal tendencies and capacity for cruelty make him a startling character, made all the more intriguing by the fact that he attends the same therapist (Eddie Smucygz) as Harper.
Told using a myriad of obscured visuals and unorthodox framing, Scrying is a film that challenges its viewer. The narrative is kept relatively elusive whilst the two characters are built using a coalescing form of storytelling. There is an uneasy tension running throughout the movie that keeps the viewer glued, waiting to see if these obviously maladjusted characters spiral into a more threatening path, or each other.
Whilst the storyline has a lot in common with a psychological thriller like Split, there are also romantic and dramatic elements being drawn in that create a cacophony of life, which I believe is the intention of the filmmakers. There are moments in the film where a strong sense of empathy is demanded from the audience, such as witnessing the aforementioned sequence where Harper's voices collide in her head, or when Frederick turns up at someone's door and attempts to convince them to let him in. Even though he turns aggressive, the viewer cannot help but connect the link between his personality disorders and his antisocial behaviour. These themes are explored excellently in the short and are definitely one of the highlights.
As with any movie that strays from the conventional cinema path, there is always going to be a limitation to the audience that can be found and some viewers may become frustrated with the lack of clarity being offered by Leinikka and Smucygz. However, for those looking for a cinematic experience that reflects the chaos of life and challenges you to embrace the unstructured mess of it all, Scrying is a glimpse into an imperfect yet compelling world.