THE SINGLE BULLET THEORY, the latest offering from GRAVESTONE ENTERTAINMENT, a 27 minute short film, is one that is short, but meaningful. Putting it's own spin on the Horror sub-genre that some have coined "torture porn"(although, I do not feel that the moniker fully applies here), the film sees six strangers awaken in a room, with no recollection of how they got there, and with their ankles shackled, they are unable to leave. However, they are soon greeted by a strange woman named Nexus, who explains exactly why she has brought them there. It seems as though she wants to teach them the value of life, and to do just that, she has devised an unorthodox plan - a test if you will. Among the six strangers, she has left a single bullet, as she leaves it up to them as to who should live, and who should die. If they hope to live, one thing is for certain, in that one of them has to die.
With this film, Director Jason Hawkins and the gang at Gravestone Entertainment are back with a short film, which I must admit, initially looks like a knockoff of SAW. It has the familiar set up. A group of several strangers wake to find that they are chained up in a strange room, with no idea of how they arrived there. Also similar is the fact that their captor is looking to put them to the test. However, it is with that test that THE SINGLE BULLET THEORY, becomes unique. The film, which was takes a upper and lower split screen approach, giving us two points of view, eventually reveals that the strangers have all been placed in the room with a single bullet. An appearance by Nexus, the woman responsible for this situation, reveals that she has plans for said bullet. She explains that she feels that people should value life more, and with that, she further explains that everyone would eventually be set free - except for one of them. And, of course, it's up to them to decide who that should be. She then gives them some time to get to know one another, and to tell their individual stories, before eventually returning for the decision. However, things do not go as routinely as one might expect in THE SINGLE BULLET THEORY, as an unexpected last minute twist at the end, seems to uncover the true meaning behind the film.
THE SINGLE BULLET THEORY is a short film that leaves itself open for interpretation. What is taken from it will differ from one person to the next. Personally, the message that I got from it, was that one shouldn't take life, and what they have for granted. That is what the victims telling their individual stories about themselves meant to me. And it was even more so appearent in the film's last action. It's as if Nexus, via her actions is literally telling them to value their lives and not to take them for granted, as she makes herself an example. That's all that I will say, for fear of spoiling the film, for those who have yet to see it.
As for the acting, to be honest, I didn't pick up too much on the performances, as character detail is very slim. But I will say that as "Nexus" was on to something. Over the course of the short's 27 minutes, the character displays mental instability and a short attention span, as she babbles on from on subject to the next without pause. She also demonstrates some sort of nervous tick, that puts further emphasis on her level of "crazy". For what this film is, the character is a stand out. It leaves you to wonder of the possibilities, had the film ran longer.
Following up his great feature length film, ALL AMERICAN BULLY, which has since been a success at the likes of RED BOX, Hawkins delivers this short that is not unlike its predecessor in terms of its overall meaning. While I enjoyed both, what impresses me most about Hawkins' work is the fact, that within the scripts, he has gone beyond the average script requirements, to ensure that his films mean something in the end. All while on a budget no less. That's what is most impressive to me, and is why I look forward to seeing all of Jason's films from here on out.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
At 27 minutes, THE SINGLE BULLET THEORY is a film that is tasked with telling a lot of story, with very little time allowed. Because of this, the film is a little rushed to a conclusion as details are a little scarce. But still, THE SINGLE BULLET THEORY manages to get its point across, while making a fairly decent impact in the end.
THE SINGLE BULLET THEORY has been nominated in the "Best Short" category at the RIP Horror Film Festival in Hollywood.Click here for more information.