Housebreaking (2012) – By Josh Samford

The great thing about being a writer for Rogue Cinema for nearly a decade is that it has introduced me to a short list of talented independent filmmakers who have continually blown my mind with each successive release. Jordan Kerfeld is a director who is certainly on this list. For Rogue Cinema I have covered two short films of his in the past. His last short, Knuckleball, is easily one of my favorite shorts that I have ever had the opportunity to review. Housebreaking is another very important step in the evolution of this talented filmmakers career. Focusing on a very simplistic narrative, Kerfeld manages to craft an intriguing short that unravels in very creative ways. Although everything seems elementary at first, it is a short that stays in your mind and asks for some creative input on behalf of the audience.

The plot for our story is simple enough. Paul is an adult man in a very compromised position. He is currently unemployed, lives at home with his wife’s family, and his father-in-law absolutely loathes him. Hoping to somehow escape this misery, Paul concocts a plan to rob his father-in-law’s safe. While he distracts the family, Paul invites a safe-cracker into his home in order to do the dirty work. Unfortunately, problems are certainly bound to arise.

While I think that Housebreaking is certainly a film that can be understood on a surface level, I do think that there are certain underlying bits of information being passed onto the audience. Dealing mostly with familial relationships, male dominance, and the transformation of the patriarch in modern society (gee, ain’t I pretentious?), I would say that Housebreaking points out a few interesting ideas for its audience to chew on. Yet, I would say that the real meat and bones of this short comes from its technical wizardry. Kerfeld, who has constantly demonstrated a sense of visual style, steps up to the plate and delivers an absolutely beautiful looking short. Nearly every frame of this short is layered with visual nuance, and Kerfeld doesn’t pass on any opportunities to impress his audience. I was so impressed, I was even blown away by the font and digital FX that accompany it during the opening credits. This is “style” personified.

Along with the fantastic “look” that comes with the film, Housebreaking also has some terrific editing and a very strong cast. All of the actors put in solid performances, with nary a weak link in the chain. While the story is a bit short and doesn’t involve a large variety of emotions, the entire cast remains believable and that is all that matters. The movie is certainly one to keep an eye out for, and if you haven’t witnessed any of Kerfeld’s work before – now is the time! Give the short a look, and make sure to check out more from the filmmaker’s back catalog as well. You can read more about this short at the official website: