Sometimes things are not always as they appear, and more often than not, there is more to each of us than meets the eye. This theory proves true in JD Dillard's GUILT TRIP.
The short follows Michelle, a young caucasian woman who is seemingly in the wrong place at the wrong time - walking through a sketchy neighborhood late at night. She encounters a young African American man being accosted by the police and at first continues on her way before deciding to turn back and help. After offering a ride to the man, whose name we learn is Jayson, they stop at a gas station where Michelle panics and takes off, leaving Jayson stranded. Later that night, she runs into him again at a local diner, where he accuses her of stealing his wallet. She reluctantly asks the diner's chef to escort her outside, begging him not call the police. Once they have walked out, the chef scares Jayson off and Michelle is finally able to get in her car and depart. However, Jayson isn't through with her and follows her in another car, forcing Michelle to flee her own. At this point, everything you thought you knew completely changes.
I am an absolute sucker for reversal of expectations; I had assumed Michelle was not who she seemed to be early on, but I was definitely not expecting the twist that GUILT TRIP's ending delivered. I am also a huge fan of stereotypical characters breaking convention and turning out to be something we wouldn't expect. GUILT TRIP, much like GET OUT and other films in this genre, offers a chilling reminder to never judge a book by its cover.
GUILT TRIP is a short that leaves several questions unanswered, which can sometimes be frustrating and unfulfilling for the audience; in this case I was left begging for more. Although the concept may appear simple, I found myself intrigued to know more about the lives of these characters. The performances weren't always perfect and some of the writing choices were a bit on the nose, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed the story. GUILT TRIP does a great job subverting your expectations and leaves you wanting more.