“I shouldn’t have went there”
Director Jeremiah Kipp once again amps up the mood with his latest short The Minions to follow his similarly aesthetically-constructed The Days God Slept. From the camera angles catching his actors’ expressions in a way that cultivates mystery, the score pulsing along with the imagery as though everything is set to its beat, and the dark subject matter underlying its elaborate masking of reality in the supernatural, William’s (Lukas Hassel) nightmare gradually becomes ours.
Scripted by Joseph Fiorillo—and supposedly based on a true story of obvious mental instability—the tale begins with our wondering what hell our hero has landed himself in. He speaks with a woman off-camera named Abigail (Lauren Fox), a witch explaining the web she wove to trap his fearful gaze in the night’s glow of an apartment window. William wanted her, sought her through the “witches’ path” in hopes of finding her when he believed he might never see her again. And if you close your eyes and listen to the conversation you’d believe them to be caught in the woods, a full moon overhead rather than the streets of Manhattan.
So what is real? Abigail’s tale of minions trapping her prey at the path’s end or William’s memory of traversing a regular alley before stumbling upon two young women making their way home? What we see is Sarah (Cristina Doikos) helping her drunken friend Katrina (Robin Rose Singer) rise from the pavement without stumbling into a string of automobiles whipping by. The latter is inebriated and lustful, jokingly asking William for a kiss—something his distracted and charitable self agrees to as long as she makes her way to safety. What we hear, however, are the nefarious deeds of devilish creatures tricking their latest victim and drawing him in with a spell until he willingly finds himself trapped within their clutches.
The Minions is one thing on its surface and a complete other once the reality of its predator/prey dynamic is revealed. Love and hate mix together until disembodied voices prove just that and scared stares replace grateful smiles. Billed as a witch story, our knowledge of such subject matter’s fiction braces us for creature horror only to get blindsided by psychopathy and every day dread. This is not a Halloween yarn with broomsticks and pointy hats. It’s instead an authentic portrayal of what really goes bump in the night: humanity. The depraved mind of a seemingly well-adjusted human found hiding a secret of psychopathy alongside elaborate machinations to fulfill a desire for unhinged pleasure.