So…you’re one of those types that hits the streets hours before the sun makes its way up over the horizon, getting in that morning run for the sake of your daily cardio before you begin the normal hustle and bustle of everyday life. The streets are dark, the air is cool…there’s almost no traffic in your suburban world, and it’s just you, your music, and the rhythm of your pace. Suddenly, that orange you had for breakfast (or maybe the three burritos you had last night) hit bottom like a ton of bricks, and your run becomes a little more desperate as you head to the nearest restroom you can find…which turns out to be one of those little public setups; you know, the ones only half-ass maintained by city sanitation services, that are usually plagued by flies and a smell that would knock a buzzard off a shit-wagon. Any port in a storm though, right? At least it’s early, and you should be undisturbed…but as you get pretty involved in your…eh…business, what is the luck that someone else would show up, and (naturally) sit in the stall right next to yours, and begin their own “business” that makes yours seem tame by comparison…
Yeah, a lot of us have been in a similar situation (although granted, not the same circumstances), and we’re all familiar with the discomfort that comes from 1) moving our bowels in the presence of strangers, and 2) listening to the symphony of strangers doing the same. This relatability sets the stage for writer/director Kevin Doherty’s entertaining short film, The Jogger.
Although the film sets up in the way that I’ve described above, with our protagonist finding himself in that uncomfortable and often comical situation, suffice to say that things abruptly go flying into the realms of horror as the faceless person on the other side of the stall door proves to be something out of Sean Cunningham’s or Wes Craven’s nightmares.
Found to have all the accouterments of a psycho-slasher from a chainsaw to a samurai sword, it’s quickly obvious that his intentions of mutilation and bloodletting are the primary reason for his early morning visit to this particular public restroom. The blood and gore are prevalent, with effects that simultaneously disturbing and, like the blood ‘n’ guts flicks of old, quite fun.
The acting of the protagonist (and only face we really see), played by Dan Baker-Moor, while it has some moments of woodenness, is surprising in it’s quality. The camera work begins with a thread of amateurishness, but is still ambitious, and as the film moves on, it finds its footing and proves to be inventive in its angles and application, especially considering how well Doherty uses it in the confines of a bathroom stall. The only complaint I would have is a minor one; the apparent attempts to infuse overt comedy fell a little flat for me, although the implied comic moments, those subtle ones, brought more than a chuckle from me on occasion.
Like any good short, this one puts us in an untenable, unexplained, and by and large unresolved situation, leaving us to fill in the blanks.
While doing so, it’s a fun romp through some bloody good times, with memorable set-pieces and an entertaining “slice-of-life” study of the oddball of the main character. While it has it’s flaws, one still has to respect the work of the cast and crew with what was obviously a limited budget.
I had a good time with this one, peeps; Doherty has a feature film that I’m going to be checking out soon, and I’m hoping for more of this kind of throwback fun to the slasher/splatter flicks of old.
And that’s my two cents on this one.
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