In Too Deep
Aug 13, 2023
Rachel Shenton, Stephen Wight, Madeleine McKenna
The sudden death of a loved one is a crushing blow; but when a young child is involved the loss is even more profound and heart rending. Mourning an unfulfilled life disturbs the natural order; after all a parent should never outlive their children. But how do the grieving parents cope with the trauma; can they ever reach a happy place in their lives again? In Too Deep explores the scenario with a couple picking over the emotional wreckage and seemingly unable to move forward.
Ben (Stephen Wight) sits alone in a house surrounded by memories of his daughter Jess (Madeleine McKenna). Every inch of every wall is adorned with pictures of Jess. A home video plays on repeat as Ben burns every frame into his memory. The seaside plays host to a happy family having fun on the beach. Jess, Ben and his wife Carol (Rachel Shenton) look the picture of domestic bliss. But a destressing memory breaks the idyll and Ben is again confronted by reality. Carol and Ben are living apart and trying to make sense of what happened. They both lost their daughter but still find insufficient comfort in sharing their grief. Carol begs Ben to attend counselling but her pleas ultimately fall on deaf ears. She wonders how he can manage his mental health without help or support.
Chris Overton’s canny direction shows two people cut adrift by tragedy. The scene transitions are well executed and only hint at what actually happened. The focus lands on the aftermath and those left to pick up the pieces. Carol and Ben’s reactions are authentic and chilling. A shedload of emotions jostle for prominence; shock, anger and disbelief are all to be expected. They clearly resonate in this powerful film and the viewer will immediately buy into the characters portrayed. Like all good short films an unexpected punch is delivered in the final frames, and shows where coping strategies might lead. The ability to come terms with grief and draw a line under the loss is no easy task. This important film is brave enough to ask the question but finding the answer is another matter entirely.