[Review] Jonas Gramming's Short Film 'Skickelsen'

"One knows what happens when one assumes things. Insert the old adage here, as Jonas Gramming’s Skickelsen (English name: Out of the Darkness) proves that nothing is ever as it seems. In its roughly 14-minute runtime, Gramming’s dark thriller manages to turn viewer expectations on their ears with a cast of just three characters, the actions of whom converge to spur a final unraveling that stuns as well as it amuses."

A tall figure (Lars Väringer) approaches an apartment complex inhabited by twenty-something Sara (Lova Schildt). A cutaway takes us to a sleazy-looking fellow (Tony Lundgren) having a conversation on the phone which ends in said phone meeting the floor with force. After creeping on Sara through the peephole, The Guy disappears and The Man lets himself into the apartment next door to Sara.

Oh dear. I think.

What adds to the anxious feeling is the cylindrical pomodoro timer that The Man carries around, taking it out only to set it on his bookshelf in his apartment. The ticking comes at the most opportune of times, driving the “but what does it mean” feeling home even harder with every tick.

The screwdriver scene is uncomfortable, yet pivotal to the plot. The Man injures himself with a Phillips screwdriver to get an excuse to get into Sara’s apartment. His moves while Sara’s back is turned are methodical, calculated with a surgical precision, but with seemingly no clear motive. The most miniscule, insignificant movement of objects within the apartment further add to the aforementioned “but what does it mean” factor.

Everything comes to a head in a Final Destination-esque chain of events, a Rube Goldberg machine of “screw this guy in particular” that me leaving the short feeling satisfied. Should things have wrapped up so perfectly? Realistically, no. But movie logic aside, the poetic justice meted out was a joy to see play out, wrapping up this quarter-hour shot in the arm in a neat little package.

All things considered, Skickelsen was a fun ride that lasted just as long as it needed to. If this is what to expect from Jonas Gramming - that is, all killer, no filler - then I look forward to seeing what comes next from this sharp-minded Swede.

Watch Jonas Gramming's Skickelsen below.


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