SOMETHING ELSE is the latest film from directors Jeremy Gardner (The Battery) and Christian Stella (Tex Montana Will Survive!) and is a study on the difficulties of relationships set to the backdrop of a creature feature. The film stars Jeremy Gardner, Brea Grant (Beyond the Gates), Henry Zebrowski (The Last Podcast on the Left), and Justin Benson (The Endless).
For small-town bar owner Hank (Jeremy Gardner), his 10-year relationship with Abby (Brea Grant) has been storybook-quality. Abby, however, wants more: marriage, to be exact, which Hank doesn’t seem ready to initiate anytime soon. As a result, she leaves him without so much as a note or any subsequent communication. Hank is crushed. Even worse, Abby’s departure seemingly triggers the arrival of an unseen monster that claws at Hank’s front door at night. As the nocturnal threat intensifies, Hank must figure out how to not only save his relationship but also himself. (Matt Barone, Programmer at Tribeca)
I’m equal parts in love with this movie and mad at it, and not for the reasons you think. Let me start off by saying that I truly loved this movie, the performances are fantastic, the story is solid, and the use of the monster as a metaphor for relationships is perfect. But listen SOMETHING ELSE, you made me cry and a part of me hates you for that because I thought I was going to watch a film that would be a fun creature romp and instead, you took hold of my heart, shattered it, and then pieced it back together. I love and hate you for doing that, but in the end, it makes it the reason why this is one of my favorite films to come out of the Tribeca Film Festival.
We all struggle with relationships, no matter what anyone tells you, we all have moments that make us doubt or question the person we are with. Relationships are tough because we, as humans, are not perfect and sometimes that love we have for someone just isn’t enough. I’ve gone through that ringer quite a few times and it never gets easier, which is why it was so heartbreaking to watch Hank come face-to-face with the consequences of his actions. Now, don’t get it twisted, Hank needed a metaphorical punch to the face, but when you love someone it doesn’t make it any easier to watch them struggle. Add on the fact that Jeremy Gardner does a tremendous job of conveying emotional depth and I quickly found myself in a puddle of my own tears while at work – literally the worst place I could have been in terms of reacting so emotionally to a film. Then there is Abby, played beautifully by actress Brea Grant, who finds herself at her wit’s end with the man she loves and honestly, I could relate to her character more than I would like to admit. The chemistry between Gardner and Grant is so genuine and realistic that I found myself mesmerized and consumed by their performances, hoping in the back of my mind that no matter what happens, they would make it through this rough patch.
Then comes the monster. I’m sure most could write off the monster as being just a fun add on to a heavy plot about the struggles of a relationship, but to me, that monster represented all the darkness, all the fights, all the resentment and anger that we can hold deep within for fear of upsetting our partner. The monster is us when we are at our worst, when we know we’ve fucked up but are too prideful to take ownership of it. Throughout the film, it’s only really Hank who gets to see the monster in moments of quick glances as he sits in his dark house that’s falling apart with only a shotgun by his side. As much as he tries to convince others that it exists, no one really takes him seriously. It’s at this point that we, the viewer, begin to question Hank’s sanity and if he may just be making up the monster’s existence due to his grief over Abby leaving. However, let it be known that if my boyfriend came to me and told me he saw a monster, I would 100% believe him.
It should go without saying that SOMETHING ELSE is a slow-burn horror film and those who are looking for quick scares and loads of carnage may want to look elsewhere. Don’t get me wrong, there is a moment that made me jump and there is some carnage, but it comes when you least expect it. Furthermore, as much as this movie is a study on the difficulties we face in relationships, there are moments of humor brought to us by Hank’s goofy sidekick/friend, Wade (played by Henry Zebrowski who I’m convinced wasn’t acting but just being himself) and Abby’s dry-humored brother, Shane (played by one of my favorite genre directors/actors, Justin Benson). Even better, the humor played well within the context of the film and never felt forced.
SOMETHING ELSE is truly a special film and hits on topics that I wish were addressed more in horror films. Gardner truly shines as not only one of the co-directors and actors but also as the writer, which leads me to believe that maybe this film was coming from a personal place. If so, I commend him for exposing himself in a way that so many people are nervous to do. SOMETHING ELSE may not be filled with all the horror tropes that we are so often used to seeing but that’s okay because this film has heart, it has a message, and it leaves an impression on you that’s long lasting – also it has a cool as fuck monster reveal. If you want to feel your heart shatter into a million pieces while simultaneously figuring out just how much damage this creature is prepared to do to then hold tight because SOMETHING ELSE will absolutely rock your fucking world.
SOMETHING ELSE will have its World Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival today and will have additional screenings on Saturday, April 27 at 7pm, Sunday, April 28 at 9:15pm, and Sunday, May 5, at 6:45pm. For more information and to purchase tickets visit, www.tribecafilm.com/filmguide/something-else-2019.
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