18 Sept 2021
Stephanie Herrera, Anthony Tullo
Anthony Tullo, Laura Denmar, Keren Ray
A cherry-red crucifix dangles between Cassandra and Santiago Morales (Keren Ray and Anthony Tullo) as they drive through the night. Even their last name suggests that they are on the side of the light. Their course is a straight road in the middle of a forest blanketed in darkness. They are searching for their devil. Mrs. Stonefield (Laura Denmar) has unceremoniously fired a large number of her employees – including Santiago’s father. She crunches smouldering cigarettes under her Christian Louboutins, she only cares about money and profit, and of course, she speaks in a crystal-cut British accent.
The moral code here is far too obvious. There is the good and the light, and the evil and the dark. For Mrs. Stonefield, she only has this one chance to repent until she is cast downward to hell. It’s a sensationalist story, yet Mrs. Stonefield feels far too one-note to fully invest in. She is relentlessly greedy, and where people stand, she only sees profit. Anthony Tullo’s film makes the black and white distinction between the valour of community and the evilness of greed. While truth certainly lies that way, it’s a story that we know off by heart.
Santiago, on the other hand, gushes about the teachings of his father and how he used his work to lift his own community out of poverty and suffering. Cassandra, who accompanies him in the car, is seemingly only really there for Santiago to talk to, rather than to a fully fleshed-out character of her own. Her purpose seems to be to introduce the viewer to Santiago and ask him about his relationship with his father. Surely, it would be more effectual to have either the father accompany Santiago or a worker whose livelihood is about to be thrown away?
Although the title is Repent, the entire film is almost a gentle biblical retelling of love and forgiveness. It’s an exploration of how your life can change if you live with kindness rather than following one of the seven deadly sins. However, the film lacks the horror and tension that’s necessary for any haunting story straight out of the Old Testament, and yet, it shifts into a full-throttle horror in the end.
Repent is a little too tonally inconsistent, and its religious allegories are too simple to make a big impression. Still, the mantra of repent or die that is hinted at throughout this short film is enough to be bone-chilling.