Natalia-Christabelle Serrano, Christopher Loring, Rey Marz, Brittni McGriff, and Nathan Yoder DIRECTED BY
C.L. Hoffa SCREENPLAY
C.L. Hoffa (based upon novella by Christopher L. Golon) RUNNING TIME
"American Johns" is an Effective Indie Dramatic Short
Writer/director C.L. Hoffa states that his 12-minute short film American Johns is inspired by such films as Marnie, American Gigolo and the fairly recent Paul Schrader feature The Canyons. A low-budget experimental flick, American Johns is a mostly silent, atmospheric effort about a former child actress turned escort, Melissa (Natalia-Christabelle Serrano), who has something go terribly wrong with one of her johns.
Based upon a Christopher L. Golon novella, American Johns is an admirable if not entirely satisfying effort that relies largely upon the physical performances of its ensemble cast to bring the story to life. Music by Gabe Saucedo is a fairly minor accompaniment as the emphasis here is clearly on the atmosphere that Hoffa and his cast and crew are all creating. This works in some scenes more effectively than in others, as one might expect, though Serrano is captivating enough on-screen to hold one's attention.
Ultimately a quiet little thriller with just enough spark, American Johns is at its strongest when the tension builds and as the story really starts to unfold. While this isn't the type of film that will resonate with everyone, those who admire experimental and creative ways of telling fairly familiar stories will likely enjoy it.