Friday, August 4, 2017

"This Is She"

Just a quick plug for Grace Rex's 2014 short "This Is She," an enigmatic piece that uses some horror tropes but is more of a mystery/drama (dramstery?) than a fright flick. More obliquely and cleverly than many filmmakers have, Rex uses an unexplained, shape-shifting blob on the unnamed protagonist's apartment wall to represent depression.

We get small hints of this symbolism throughout the film's 10 minutes. For example, a person we assume to be the woman's mother calls to make sure she's doing okay, using a tone and language that implies she's recovering from some kind of difficult, or even traumatic, experience. At one point, the woman scrolls through pictures of, presumably, her previous apartment, which looked horribly colonized by some kind of black mold... which bears a resemblance to the little blob she's currently interacting with. When you move, from a chapter of life or an apartment, or both, a little bit of your depression inevitably follows?

After she breaks a mirror by accident, the woman picks up a piece of the shattered glass and contemplates it for a moment. But perhaps it's her interactions with the strange blob during the film that clues us in the most. Initially startled, then curious, the woman soon decides to do battle with the blob, covering it up and pretending that means it's gone. Ultimately, she comes to a relatively peaceable arrangement with her odd little housemate.

"This Is She" reminded me of "The Babadook" in its suggestion that even if we can't completely shed our most deep-seated demons, we can at least learn to live more harmoniously with them. Ideally, we can accept that a smaller, more manageable version of them is somehow part of us and will therefore be with us, in one form or another, forever.


Kelly Mathews said...

Thanks for the recommendation!

Neal said...

Sure! I'll let you know when I post an upcoming interview I'm doing with Grace for my blog!