Who wants to read a review that’s longer than the film? Nobody, that’s who. So here’s my take on a short film that will get you primed to see it, or prepped to pass on it. Herewith, Test!
We, as human beings, love puzzles. We try to figure ’em out, look for meaning in their mystery. With Test, writer/director Jay Lifton leaves you to draw your own conclusions. And lemme tell you, that drove me crazy…at first. Then I thought about it a minute. Why did not being able to fully understand what was going on upset me so much? I’ll tell you why; because Test is an intriguing film that drew me in. I wouldn’t have had such a strong reaction if this film hadn’t touched me in some way. I can walk away from crap without a second glance, but it’s the stories that pique my interest, make me want to know more, that really affect me. So bravo, Test. You passed.
The story is a simple one; a man goes through a series of strange, incomprehensible tests. He’s under the watchful eye of four…supervisors? Instructors? It’s tough to fully get it, but as the film progresses it’s understood that the people he interacts with are the ones in charge. (Though while I was watching the film, I thought the man, simply called “Subject” on IMDb, could possibly be the one who was administering the tests, and the others were simply reacting to him. Could go either way if I really thought about it.)
At 10 minutes, Test manages to build a eerie sense of foreboding while deepening the mystery of the Subject and the employees. If this is a low-budget short, (hey, I’m used to low-budget shorts, so that’s my go-to thought) it certainly doesn’t feel like it. Lighting, set design and cinematography are all top-notch. Test has been shown in a whole lot of cool-kid film festivals, and with good reason; while you may not walk out of the theater knowing exactly what just happened, you’ll definitely find yourself nodding in approval at the intimate sense of dread this story managed to pull out of you in such a brief period of time.