Loneliness Drives Some Men Crazy
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Spike is the sordid tale of loneliness pushing a man to do things he never fathomed possible.
DVD includes 2 bonus short films
Signed by director Jason Hoover
RUN TIME Approx. 25 min
Sometimes, the most effective film projects are the most simple. Such as Jason Hoover’s “Spike,” a short film that thrives on the notion that it’s the overall simplicity that brings it alive. With virtually zero budget, its concept and execution gives the work a level of integrity and honesty that makes the viewer realize the conviction and determination of the filmmakers. Released in November 2009, “Spike” is the very first project from JABB Pictures, an underground production team from Illinois.
The short begins on a nice day with a man taking his dog for a walk. Casual and routine, he walks his dog like any other day until his dog picks up a scent. The dog brings his owner into the woods, where he discovers a corpse of a young woman. Beneath a pile of branches, the young woman’s corpse lays. Instead of calling the police like any normal person would, the man thinks it’d be a much better idea to take the woman’s corpse home with him.
Superbly played by Bill Hardesty, the man is a fascinating character. On his drive home from the park just after he stumbled upon the body, he is filled with confliction. He even has the phone in his hand, prepared to call the authorities. His face turns from the look of a concerned citizen to the look of an unnerved individual. About five minutes into the short, we don’t really know much about him, other than he is a dog owner and he lives in a quiet suburban community. The lack of dialogue invokes the essential theme of “Spike”: alienation. Halfway through, the man has no one to talk to. Although he is married, all the man has in his life is his dog, Spike.
There is one thing in “Spike” that made me scratch my head. The man returns to the woods with a golf bag, and he uses it to conceal the body of the woman. He carries it out of the woods. He walks through the park with the golf bag nonchalantly slung over his shoulder. He passes by a few people on the way back to his car. Despite this fact, no one ever notices him. I found this particularly strange. Many viewers will find this to be a colossal flaw, but this odd detail feels intentional. In a wide shot, Jason Hoover openly acknowledges there are people in the area who simply overlook the man. It ties into the theme of how oblivious people can be and the natural disregard in society. The man is so alienated in the world, he doesn’t even get noticed carrying a golf bag distinctly concealing a body!
Social commentary was unexpected. The man is married, but he feels no connection to his wife anymore. He is detached from reality, and he is very troubled as evident in his dialogue to the corpse. He hides the corpse in his shed outside the house. With no previous dialogue in the film, he opens up to the corpse rambling on about his everyday problems, his life story, etc. He just wanted someone to talk to. The ending is fairly abrupt, but the final shot is exceptional from its conception to the aesthetic achievement. These are some of the reasons why “Spike” is a pleasant surprise. I expected a disturbing necrophilia scene at the ending, but that’s not a focus here. Small gripes aside (the lighting is weak, in spots), “Spike” is a compelling — albeit brief — psychological drama about mental illness.
|Dimensions||7.5 x 5.5 x .5 in|