Just as I sat down to write this review, my next door neighbor decided it'd be a good time to blast Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Want To Have Fun over their outdoor speaker system. It couldn't be more inappropriate, as that song's confident, carefree attitude is the antithesis of Jake Hammond's short, PIGSKIN, which concerns a girl who certainly ISN'T having fun.
Laurie (Isadora Leiva) is a high school cheerleader who is very unhappy with her body. She binds her stomach, claws at her skin, and acts in a generally anti-social manner because she thinks she's overweight and unattractive. Glenn, a guy on the football team, has other ideas, and intends to seduce Laurie after practice. At the behest of her friend Trish, Laurie reluctantly follows Glenn to the pool, where she finds herself literally being stalked by the spectre of expectation and low self-esteem.
PIGSKIN is impressive from a technical perspective. This is a fantastic looking short. It's shot exceptionally well, and uses a striking palette of bright colors - blues and oranges - to great effect. It's a pleasure to look at, and it's easy to forget you're not watching a studio funded feature film. The soundtrack is also fitting and of high quality. It captures a similar 80's electronic feel to IT FOLLOWS, and carries with it a comparable atmosphere of isolation and loneliness.
While the short's tackling of its theme is a little on the nose, it's a relatable one that affects many young people. That's what the horror genre does best - it gives filmmakers a chance to take important societal issues, put them in a context that appeals to its largest demographic and inspire discussion. I'd really like to see PIGSKIN grow into a feature and be seen by a larger audience. Isadora Leiva gives a believable and sympathetic performance as a tortured young girl and deserves to expand upon this role if given the opportunity.
I'm looking forward to seeing where the team behind PIGSKIN goes next!