Midlands Review - Restroom
By midlandsmovies, Aug 7 2017 03:40PM
Directed by Scott Driver
A young man experiences a series of life changing events inside a public restroom only to find out all is not as it seems.
When a young man (Joseph Sean-Lyons) takes a trip to a public toilet whilst out with friends, the last thing he expected was to be trapped in a cubicle when a hammer-wielding madman shows up and attacks a couple in the next stall. In a series of events that quickly go from a bit strange to absolutely awful, the man is forced to make a split second decision, only to find expectations challenged.
Restroom is the latest short film from writer and director Scott Driver. Inspired by a series of online prank videos, he wanted to take this social media trend and turn it into something far uglier than anyone who has ever seen or even set up one of these videos would imagine it could become. It’s a pretty local project, with three of the four main actors coming from the Midlands and the entire film being shot at an abandoned school in Newark, so really showcases excellent local talent.
I think of all the short films I have seen over the last year, and bear in mind they have all been so different, this has probably been my favourite. It was very intense and an audience would never know what was coming next at any point. The film started out with a character sending a text message to his mate whilst on the toilet, and then very quickly went up a gear from there. Suddenly I didn’t know what to expect, and that was a fantastic feeling to get with such a compact storyline.
The setting really helped to build the tension in this short. It felt so claustrophobic and when the attacker set his sights on our protagonist, I kind of lost all hope for him. Combine this with the number of shots cut together during the initial attack and the audience could quickly became disorientated with it all. The film moved fast, causing some of the panic being felt by the main character to be transferred onto the viewer.
Of course, Restroom is a film that does have some heavier undertones. As pointed out by Driver, his inspiration for this short came from online prank videos. He wanted to show how they can soon go from a good laugh to something horrendous, and the twist he built into the film right at the end did just that.
The film ended so abruptly, and I think this was very effective in the way it kind of prompted you to think, well… what happens now? In all seriousness, this is something that could potentially happen when one of these pranks goes wrong in real life and the film just makes you stop and think a bit, which is a fantastic way to conclude.
All in all, Restroom is a really great short film that grabs viewers and shakes them into action. It forces you to think about seemingly harmless acts and the potential consequences for people if they go wrong - something that can be applied to other situations - not the just internet trend shown in this film. It lures you in with a friendly conversation between friends and then it pounces and that's when the fun really starts.
This is a film that you should see if you get the chance because there is so much to it. For me, it’s a real winner, and my only criticism would be that I didn't get to see more of the aftermath, even if it was only another 10 seconds or so on top of the rest of the short.