DIRECTOR: Jamie Hooper
CAST: Tim Blackwell, Debra Baker, Lucy Hutchinson, Tom Geoffrey
Review by Jack Martin
Some of the more intriguing short films only offer glimpses of the bigger picture rather than just telling a full story from beginning to end, but those glimpses need to have a genuine sense of surprise that comes like a right hook to the jaw. With this in mind, Terry and Brenda is certainly something of a surprise when it comes to its own revelations, and we are left asking ourselves “how”, “why” and, most importantly, “who”.
A muscly debut from writer/director/producer/editor/cinematographer/tea-boy (or at least we assume the latter, especially given its strong presence here) Jamie Hooper, the short begins with a series of rather mundane scenarios that may or may not ring true with many middle-aged couples, such as figuring out the identity of an old friend that they bumped into earlier or arguing what the difference is between RoboCop and The Terminator. So far, so neutral – that is, until we get one-thirds of the way through, where things suddenly start to unravel about this couple we probably never would have thought of before. No spoilers here, but for now we’ll say that things get a little more uncomfortable depending on your, erm, interests.
As director and cinematographer, Hooper is able to create a sinister atmosphere out of the most normal activities, like making tea in tacky souvenir mugs and so on, which help enforce that feeling of dread and tension despite the most non-threatening on-screen activities. Working with his simplistic script, actors Tim Blackwell and Debra Baker manage to give convincing, understated performances as the couple in question, with their own unique hints of personality behind their dull exteriors. Should this short be expanded, we’d definitely like to see more of these people together – and what they might do next.
In the end, Terry and Brenda offers a darkly comic view on middle-age partnership, as well as an exploration of the things some people will do to keep whatever shades of love there is left alive – even if it means doing things beyond your reach. We’re certainly intrigued by their possible further adventures…
You can read the original review here: