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The Independent Critic

Drew Whelpley, Jenny Keto, Garry Peters, Manny Rey
Jordan Kerfeld

 "Housebreaking" Review 

I'll admit that the anticipation level goes up anytime a filmmaker submits their film on Blu-Ray. This is even more true when the film being submitted is a short film. With writer/director Jordan Kerfeld's Housebreaking, the enhancement in imagery is used to tremendous advantage in creating an entertaining and involving short film centered around a man, Paul (Drew Whelpley), whose life isn't exactly going well. He's unemployed, his father-in-law (Garry Peters) hates him, and he goes to bed every night in his wife's (Jenny Keto) childhood bedroom. In a desperate attempt to escape his less than desirable circumstances, Paul hatches a home invasion plot in an effort to earn his freedom from his spiraling downward life.

As already noted, Housebreaking's enhanced imagery is simply stellar and perfectly utilized within D.P. Deepak Chetty's mood-setting and almost meditative camera work. Even when the film's action becomes a tad intense, Chetty's lensing maintains an intimacy that draws you even further into the story.

Of course, it helps that Kerfeld has cast the film quite well with Whelpley adding a complexity to his role as Paul that constantly keeps you guessing which direction he'll go even though the story itself is really rather simple. The film's real stand-out may very well be Garry Peters, who manages to be both creepy and strangely sympathetic as Paul's rather judgmental father-in-law. Both Jenny Keto and Manny Rey also do a nice job in largely supporting roles.

Art direction by Nina Vizcarrondo is exceptional, while Nathan Felix's original score greatly enhances both the mood and the mystery of the film. The sound mix team of Aaron Malzahn and Tony Costello have created a pristine sound not often found in narrative shorts.

If there's a minor quibble with the film, and it would truly be minor, it's that the story itself feels like we needed at least a few more minutes with these characters to really get the full impact of the story that unfolds. There's also a very brief scene towards film's end with a special effect that simply didn't convince, displaying an image that felt less than natural in a film that has a rather strong natural look and feel throughout.

For more information on Housebreaking, be sure to visit the film's website listed in the credits and watch for the film at a festival near you.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic