Gregory G Allen
Imagine a world where being gay is not only frowned upon, but downright illegal. Where gay men and woman are treated, in much the same way as those from the holocaust were by the Nazis. Incarceration and maybe even death await anyone - outed as being anything other than straight. In some places of the world, it's not hard to imagine this type of scenario - it's already a reality. But imagine any-town USA, having these forms of policy go into effect? A massive purge of all who don't conform. A not so far off future where anyone, save the stereotypical straight couple, are hunted like serial killers. This is the world "Hiding In Daylight" depicts and although a dreadful premise, I found it hard to look away - and even harder to ponder after the fact.
We, as human beings, have come a long way in the last few decades. Even more since the internet and social media took hold, allowing everyone to band together and really get things done. But even now, acceptance and inclusion are always on the brink of collapse. That same internet and social platform that helped, could just as easily unravel all the progress made. That's what makes this short film so damn scary. The potential, and realistic element hidden in plain sight. It feels as if the last few years alone have been kiddie steps backwards - so it's not hard to imagine what the next decade holds. So what's all this have to do with Cheryl Allison's short film? It is Cheryl Allison's short film. I've essentially summed up the entire back story Gregory G Allen has scripted - leaving only the conclusion for these two unfortunate gay couples...
...who have been living a lie for years. Once a week, these two married couples pull the shades, shut down the listening devices and meet. A short time to be who they truly are. Gay. Can you try and visualize four people, getting married to one and others boyfriend/girlfriend? All in order to actually see, and be physical, with their true love - briefly from time to time in relative safety? Obviously using the term safety is a loose play on the situation, but at least they have a reason for meeting. The married couple are friends right? But what a way to have to live? And it's captured beautifully within this short film. We get our needed yet sad backstory, as the couples talk and debate in their seemingly private dwelling. But as I'm sure you've guessed, it's all a pretty dreadful conversation - with a sadly fitting conclusion. Fitting for the tone of this film at least - in that it drives home just how dangerous this potential future actually is. I'm not going to spoil it for you, but as I wrote above, I couldn't take my eyes away.
The technical realities of this short film really don't require much typing on my part. "Hiding In Daylight" is a slick, polished production. I know this is a micro budget short film, but it sure doesn't look like one. Adding to the perceived production value is the acting from the cast. There's no corn-ball cardboard portrayals here. These four actors clearly took their roles seriously, and put on one hell of a serious... and scary performance. These could be real people - and we could be the flies on the wall. It all plays off so nicely, so smoothly.
I did go back and forth with my rating a little however. During it's run, "Hiding In Daylight" did feel slightly lengthy sometimes. There's a lot to take in - because this is a really dialog heavy film. But here's the thing... when it was actually over - it didn't feel all that long at all. I felt a little mesmerized actually. Pausing as the credits began to roll, and just feeling completely... emptied out. I have no other way to describe it. With that in mind, I felt no reason not to award the higher rating I was considering. Four stars. Why shouldn't I? Allison's film not only entertained me, but actually got me feeling... whatever that was I felt! At the end of the day? This was a smart, slick short film that not only entertains... but makes you think. Me anyhow. A solid, completely earned four stars in my books. No question.