109 (2010) – By Josh Samford

Short films come in a wide variety. This is something I have learned not to take advantage of during my time as a writer for Rogue Cinema. Some films pack all of their ideas into one small section, while others remain much more ambiguous in their exact intentions. Sometimes you will come across a short that simply seems prelude to a feature film, and such is the case with Nathan Fisher’s 109. Although few people will watch the short and immediately think, "Say, that short film speaks to me", it is able to hook its audience by finding the perfect balance between its dark humor and utter strangeness. Whether or not Fisher and his crew will actually deliver on a feature length version of this story, I can not say. However, if they did, I would most certainly be interested in checking it out.

109 essentially details a short evening spent by a extremely perverted and neurotic character named Greg. We learn quickly that Greg, who decorates his house with pornographic pictures, actually suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder, and must seemingly do everything nine times. He jiggles his door knob nine times, he kisses his baby doll nine times and he then turns his lights on and off nine times before entering a room. The character appears incapable of normal human interaction, and he thus seems completely ungroomed to the outside world. We watch as Greg decides to take a field trip to the local hotel, but along the way he has a run in with a beautiful young woman. This unfortunate event will land Greg in a heap of trouble, and soon the police are after him.

There’s not much else to really say about 109 in terms of its plot. The short essentially hints at a much bigger story, with those of us in the audience only catching a glimpse of the prologue. The character Greg is a enigma to the audience. Although he does have a few moments that establish him as a not-so-friendly man, he is strange enough that it is understandable to want to see more of this character. He is alluring due to his lack of social skills or class, but just as the movie seems to hit its peak, it is all over. Still, it is the sort of short where things are just off-kilter enough to completely absorb all of the attention its audience can muster. Technically speaking, the short looks amazing. Well framed and full of interesting shots, 109 remains fairly slick in its visuals and doesn’t rely heavily on post-production filters. The performances from the cast are also very well handled. Right down to the small roles for characters who speak very little, the cast handles their job admirably.

I suppose if I have a problem with the movie, it would be that it doesn’t give its audience enough. I want to know more about Greg, and I want to see what comes next. The character seems to enter into a state of perdition, by the films close, but one feels that there is more to this rather simple story. This isn’t exactly the worst problem a short can have, to be honest, since it only means that the filmmakers did a good job at suckering their audience in. Hopefully we will see more from Fisher in the future, and perhaps we will learn more about this character Greg as well. You can read more about this project via the official Facebook page