We’ve all been there. Insecure and out of place, terrified of what other’s think. Sometimes those worries are just inimical stories we tell ourselves- multiplying, burrowing into and infecting our sanity. Sometimes our biggest fears are actualized and we must choose to either ignore or confront it. For Cassie, however, there was no choice- that “choice” was made for her.
An androgynous, mousy teen, Cassie (Bianca Sanchez) cowers in a stall when a group of vain mean girls burst into the girl’s bathroom. While they pick at their flaws in search of validation from each other, Cassie peaks out of her stall and is immediately caught spying. In a whirlwind of overacted catty commotion, the mean girls accuse Cassie of not being a girl and demand that she proves it with a tampon by “plugging it up”. With Cassie paralyzed by fear, the girls refer to her as “it” as they slam her against the stall and rip her pants off revealing a very feminine streak of blood. An unexpected surge of rage washes over her and she jumps the head bitch, throwing her to the ground and choking her. Cassie, pulled out of her trance, runs home to the safety of her bedroom closet.
In a nightmare like this, a mother’s guidance and love seem like just the right antidote. However, Cassie’s mom, intuitive and controlling, has a very peculiar parenting style. Cassie’s mom parents through the power of Satan. Maybe a little too excited at Cassie’s troubles, her mom grabs a Handmaid’s Tale red cloak and a ridiculous meringue shaped umbrella and drags Cassie out to “Devil’s Landing”- basically a patch of grass with a tree in a ditch. In full liturgical form, Cassie must kneel, pray, and channel her anger, ultimately conjuring her very own rock n’ roll troll to seek vengeance on her tormentors. As the troll is unleashed on the mean girls, Cassie, unassuaged, grows increasingly uncomfortable and must decide how far is too far and if she is willing to stand up for herself.
BATHROOM TROLL, directed by Aaron Immediato, is a campy short that forces you to face your demons, both literally and figuratively. At best, it is entertaining with a pretty clear message but at worst it comes across as a student project that hired blatantly older actors to impersonate the worst stereotypes of teenage girl culture. Besides the mother, the titular troll- an unhinged yet alluring beast- was the most entertaining part and if nothing else is why this 16-minute short is worth the watch.