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The Independent Critic

Bryan Schany, Alice Montgomery, Oliver Ellis, Henry Ellis
Jon Huggins
10 Mins.

 Movie Review: Sugar Crash 
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The quiet power of Sugar Crash sneaks up on you. As the film begins to unfold, you're not quite certain where writer-director Jon Huggins is going with this potentially poignant film that has just enough anxiety to it that you're realizing it could go tremendously dark or incredibly heavy. 

Is it a film about abuse? You're thinking to yourself "Maybe." 

Is it a tragedy? It's got all the potential. 

The wonder of Sugar Crash is that you're never quite certain.

In the 10-minute short, two brothers, Thomas (Oliver Ellis) and Cameron (Henry Ellis), initially come off as a couple of sneaky lads as they attempt to elude the watchful eye of their slightly hobbled grandmother (Alice Montgomery) to retrieve a box of candy from a particularly precarious position. 

It's a simple story, really, as it should be within the framework of a 10-minute short film. We get to know Thomas and Cameron fairly well, or at least we think so, over the course of the film's first couple of minutes. However, the way Huggins allows this story to slowly peel away its layers is patient and precision storytelling and it allows it all to land with a remarkable emotional resonance and an honesty that feels just right. 

It helps, of course, that everyone in this small but mighty ensemble is strong. Oliver and Henry Ellis, and I'm assuming they're real-life brothers and if not they should be, possess a remarkable chemistry together filled with ample doses of mischief, protectiveness, familial intimacy, and so much more. They're both wonderful here and I could have easily watched them for much longer than 10 minutes. 

Then, there's the marvelous Alice Montgomery as Grandma. Montgomery's Grandma also never really shows her narrative arc until just the right time when we're pretty much blown away by the depth of Montgomery's work here. In her opening appearance, we're expecting an entirely different Grandma. By the end of the film? I promise you'll want her to be your own Grandma. 

Bryan Schany impresses as dad, though I couldn't help but wish his character had been fleshed out just a wee bit more with a brief upfront appearance that leaves some questions unanswered. 

Lensing by Kris Ellis is impressive throughout, especially as the story winds down and the film unfolds. The original music by Aaron Morgan Payton fits the film's emotional rhythms just perfectly, as well. 

Currently on its indie fest journey, Sugar Crash had a recent screening at Queens World Film Festival and there's no doubt its festival successes will continue. Sugar Crash is a lovely little family short and another impressive effort from Jon Huggins after 2019's delightful Room Service. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic