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The Video Store - Short Film Review

★★

Written & Directed by: #RickeyBirdJr

 
Poster for The Video Store

Set in 1995, two young boys find themselves trapped in a video store in the midst of an alien invasion.


The Video Store is a comedy drama supercharged with ridiculous sci-fi elements, infusing wacky acting with slightly serious tones. It’s as if we’ve jumped into a time machine and ventured back to the time the film takes place, with common tropes and cliches being used full-on as a representation of fun filmmaking and a nod to the movies that raised the kids born in the 70s and 80s. If you pay enough attention you’ll even notice the shoddy miscommunicated problems that filled those old classics. I mean, apart from the fact that it’s set in 1995 and a video copy of The Matrix is on the shelf (not even released theatrically until 1999), amongst others, it’s pretty clear that attention to the finest detail is not Bird Jr.’s focus.


The Video Store places that focus on the fun thrills that can be created when making something for the heck of it. There are laughable moments in the presentation of this film. Mostly unintentional, such as a green-screened window onto a wall outside the video store. There are also strange fuzzy TV effects that intrude the frame every now and then, as if we’re watching through an old box television. Interestingly, though, the film gets more enjoyable with the introduction of a practical alien in the UFO, which unfortunately doesn’t use up much of the film’s runtime.


The actors do a great job of creating that odd aura that plagued movies from the 80s, with cringe-worthy lines (which is presumably intentional) and slightly wooden but tonally fine and passable performances. And they’re supported by a synth-induced score, written by Aaron Novak, that expands on the flimsy alien oriented atmosphere. The cinematography is, at times brilliant, and other times a little amateurish. But the colouring is pleasant to look at, if only it wasn’t for the unloved visual effects scattered in here and there.

In terms of plot and execution in general, it’s difficult to figure out what exactly happened. The story begins with good intrigue and you’ll want to see it through to the end if only to see what the film has to say, which doesn’t seem to be much. It has charm but burns out pretty fast. The Video Store is a fairly decent short independent film, and it will most likely have its targeted, niche audience, but for the general viewer it’ll just be an “alright” time.


Watch the trailer for The Video Store below.

 

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