Written by Elizabeth Bishop
Re-displacement is a short title from DUST: the Sci-Fi brand that currently boasts over 400 films, podcasts and series’. With a running time of less than 15 minutes, we follow Leo (Nico Mirallegro – My Mad Fat Diary, Our Girl) as he journeys into his self-conscience in the hope of recovering lost memories. As Dr Michelle guides him between memories of his childhood home and the comforts it holds, and the re-discovery of a grizzly memory, he soon finds that not all may be as it seems, and some memories are best left forgotten.
Nico is convincing as Leo, a young man that is clearly repressing some kind of memory, whilst showing signs of being confused and distressed from the get go. As Dr Michelle guides him into the second act it doesn’t take long to find out why. Leo comes face to face with someone from his past who offers him both comfort and encouragement, and with that he continues to delve deeper.
The film feels like a cold open for a dystopian thriller with its melancholy colouring and a score that lives like a constant dull vibration in the back of your mind. As the scenes intensify, the sound proceeds to become more frantic, high pitched and even glitchy – combine this with the shaky camera work and you’re left feeling like you’re stuck inside an old worn VHS tape which keeps getting stuck and skipping. I have a really bad habit of spending an entire movie, no matter the length, trying to figure out what is going to happen before it happens, so I was pleasantly surprised when this short managed to surprise me completely in the third act. After Leo relives his repressed trauma, he stumbles across a stranger who shares with him some advice about being in control of the things we forget. It’s at this point we begin to question everything we have just seen.
On my first watch, I admittedly felt like I spent the whole time waiting for something to happen. It is by no means an action-packed watch, but it did pack somewhat of a delayed emotional punch. By the final scene, I was pondering the possibilities around what Nico had seen and heard – similar to the first time I watched Donnie Darko – what was real? Who can he trust?
Re-displacement was, as described by its creators, a thought-provoking short film. Admittedly, it left me with more questions than answers, but in a similar way to Donnie Darko and so many others, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Was this a simple case of a young man repressing disturbing memories of a traumatic event? Were the people in his past genuinely just giving out some friendly advice or were they hinting at something much more sinister? The optimist (and horror fanatic) in me prefers to believe the latter.
Rating: 3 out of 5
You can watch the unsettling short horror film Re-displacement below!