Apr 10, 2023
The writer-director Ryan Spahn attempts to combine modern-day technology with the thriller as well as horror genres to build an intriguing script and a well-written character arc for the female protagonist Jeanine (Britt Vicars) to increase the degree of audience engagement with the content even when Router has a short running time.
The plot of the short film revolves around Jeanine who discovers a disturbing hidden signal listed on her neighbour’s router when the internet goes down, she notices a message that would get everyone in trouble.
The film opens with a series of long shots and mid shots to track the daily routine of the young woman to get the viewers involved with the movie from the very beginning. The white, black, and brown colours, set design, dim lighting, camera angles, background music, eerie sound effects along with loud thuds of the door, dialogues, costume, hair, makeup, and props are utilised to establish the gloomy perspective to evoke tension, creepiness, anxiety, stress, mystery, thrill, and suspense in the minds of the viewers. Router gets to the business of storytelling and adds the element of realism and the audience can see it as a slice of life when it comes to day-to-day experiences.
In terms of performance, Britt Vicars plays Jeanine who is a tech-savvy girl and is usually busy with her usual work routine but finds something fishy and acts accordingly. Vicars portrays a casual body language initially then quickly switches to a more alert version with the help of phone conversations as per the demand of the screenplay. The actress efficiently maintains the mood of the movie through her facial expressions, eyes, voice modulations, and occasional gasps.
Router talks about being aware of one’s surroundings and becoming a responsible citizen and reporting something suspicious helping the police even if it is at a very small level. The short film reiterates the need of creating a comfort zone but at the same time, one has to be brave enough to deal with any emergencies while taking care of their safety. The cinematic piece spreads awareness about the pros and cons of using technology and what can the outcome be if one does not use it carefully.
I want to appreciate the open-ended closure given to the film by Spahn and his team allowing the audience to understand and interpret it as they want to. I also like that an abrupt ending provides an opportunity to the audience to keep thinking about the short film even after finishing the same.
In my opinion, the length of the movie should have been a little longer for the viewers to develop an emotional connection with the female protagonist as well as explore the integration of thrill and horror elements in the subject matter the film deals with.