+ Recommended – NR, Short, Comedy
Philip Vickery crafts an enjoyable experience for his first short film that he both wrote and directed. From the overly expressive emotes to the scene lighting, Vickery carefully establishes tone and atmosphere; not many can accomplish these kinds of achievements in 15 minutes and with a small budget. Leave it to an incredible cast and some very strong direction to make an award nominated short.
Reina follows Seth (Sergio Castillo) and Michelle (Kat Pena) as their date fails to impress either party. Seth just can’t stop talking about Reina, who is not an ex, but rather his dog that has recently been abducted. As the date night progressively worsens, Seth and Michelle find themselves in an eerie situation. It just so happens that there is one person who can help them (drum roll please), Reina.
What makes this short so special is the simplicity of the plot; Reina was easy to follow. There’s not extra fluff that’s unnecessary for any character or storyline. Speaking of the characters, both Seth and Michelle are likeable enough to root for them when their night goes south. Unlike any other normal movie, I believe the main draw for audiences will be the antagonists. Travis Mitchell (Sergey), Ron Orlovsky (Dmitry), and Woodrow Proctor (Vlad), have undeniable chemistry with each other and with the protagonists. In fact, the focus completely shifts from the main characters to the side characters a few minutes into the film; which, while bold, was done exceptionally well.
The conclusion is satisfying, wrapping the plot in a neat little bow that ultimately compliments the entire film. It’s a sweet, feel-good short that uses a plot device, in this case, a dog, to draw upon the audience’s emotions; sometimes this kind of writing is used to fabricate a connection between the audience and the movie. But here, it’s just added fluff on an already engaging piece.
If you like watching short films, you can check out Reina through the link below. I highly recommend it for anyone who loves dogs and anyone that supports the indie film scene!