Returning the Screw (2011) – By Duane L. Martin

Cole Tartar is having a really weird day. First, he starts off his day with a note that’s pieced together like a randsome note saying, "Hope you have a great day. Love you." and then when he takes a drink of his morning coffee, he immediately gets sick and throws up. Then he goes into work, where he proceeds to puke again in the waste basket next to his desk. Then his boss comes in acting like the Tasmanian Devil on coke and accuses him of being on the junk again and how he can’t keep covering for him and stuff like that. Cole has no idea what he’s talking about. Then he tells Cole that he has to come in to work on Easter Sunday to make cold calls. The meeting ends up with the boss blowing out of the office with what I thought was an absolutely hilarious statement. He’s all, "Gotta get you some better shit. That’s the most depressing high I’ve ever seen. Stay off the junk!", and then he scoots on out of the office. Cole seriously has no clue what’s going on. Just then, another douche from the office comes in, tosses a letter at him, flips him off, and bails. He opens the letter, and it’s another randsome looking note. This one says, "Hope your day is going well. Kisses." Unfortunately, his day only gets progressively worse from there.

Returning the Screw is a short film from David Snyder, and according to him, is an experiment in misdirection. As such, it’s a very confusing film and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It does however hold your attention and keep you interested throughout, simply because the events that keep occuring to Cole are so utterly bizarre. It makes you want to keep watching to find out what’s going to happen next. You won’t be any clearer about anything at the end of the film than you were at the beginning, but it’s a bizarre ride with some amusing occurrences nonetheless.

What this film lacks in clarity of story, it makes up for in both quality of the performances and the various technal aspects that went into making it. I’m not sure who played it as there were no character names associated with the actor names in the credits, but Cole’s boss was freakin’ hilarious. It was an awesome performance and completely over the top, as opposed to Cole, who was really mild mannered and normal.

The film making technique here was quite good. All the technical aspects were well done, including the camera work, the editing, the sound, the lighting, etc…. There was even a bit of bizarre effects work thrown in at the end, but I won’t spoil what that was here. All in all, it was a pretty impressive film from a technical standpoint. It’s just the story that’s confusing, but that’s by design, so it’s ok.

I would be really interested to see what kind of a film David Snyder could make if he was going for coherence and a full story. The technical skills and the ability to write material that keeps the viewer interested are there, so it’ll be interesting to see what he comes out with in the future.

If you’re looking for coherence, you won’t find much of it here. This is a bizarre film, but it’s also quite entertaining and will hold your attention until the very end. I can almost guarantee that when it’s over, you’ll be making a face and saying to yourself, "What the hell???" Again, that’s by design, and somewhat amusing in its own right. The movie is only like sixteen minutes long, so take a few minutes and check it out. It’s worth it for the boss character alone!

You can check out the film on Vimeo right here.