Director Jared Januschka’s progressive-minded short “They See You” left me with a lingering need repeatedly analyze the film. The more I continued to think about it, the more the film affected me with its thematic references about the ways humans cope with trauma, grief, and mental illness. The story is simple, but the ideas beneath the surface are not.
Robin receives a frantic phone call from her paranoid sister Dana, who has been living in the family’s cabin. Dana is agitated and borderline hysterical, so Robin agrees to travel to see her later that night. When driving to meet her, Robin passes a car accident that triggers a traumatic memory from her past. When she arrives at the cabin, she is shocked to see that her sister has not only trashed the place, but she has also abducted a woman and is forcibly holding her hostage.
It’s a solid premise, and Januschka has a terrific sense of pacing when building mystery. No time is wasted in his storytelling, and it’s shocking when Dana reveals that she’s kidnapped a shape shifting monster who caused a tragedy in their family years ago. Of course Robin dismisses all of this, thinking her sister is having another manic episode. But the film goes in a different direction that’s equally disturbing and unpredictable.
The cast is talented and make the most of the effective script, and the technical aspects of the film are excellent across the board. “They See You” is the type of story that’s ideal for the short film format.
By: Louisa Moore