In this life, money is everything. Money is the heart of the American dream and the soul of everyone who pursues it. At least, that's what Anthony Tullo's short film "Repent" would have you believe for the first three-quarters of the film - that is until Tullo flips the script and goes off into another direction entirely. Or does he? The clues about the "type" of movie this is - are present from the start but always lurking in the background like some Coywolf waiting to snatch a baby under cover of darkness. "Repent" is an odd film for sure but does that make it a bad one? Not at all.
If any film lives up to its name, it is this one. By about the halfway mark, I was pretty much sure I knew what was going on, but it was still fun to watch it unfold. The spoiler-free story goes a little like this. The protagonist, Santiago, is on his way to a meeting with a woman who has control over his company. A company that his father had built from the ground up, which is also the economic backbone of their community. Santiago wants to plead his case against this stone-cold businesswoman who only cares about one thing. Money. Money is the only god - or so she thinks. The majority of this short sixteen-minute film revolves around his efforts until the end when "Repent" reveals its true nature. Because this film is so quick - there's absolutely no reason not to see it when it becomes available. Perhaps not the most remarkable short film to ever have existed, but still pretty darn good.
This film is all about one's moral compass. Right, wrong, good, and evil. The main story could be considered heart-breaking or a judgment on the moral corruption of our society. Actually, there's no "could" about it - "Repent" is about all of that with a little extra thrown in to keep things interesting. I did enjoy the aspects of horror thrown into the mix, but this is a story that could have been done without it. As a straight-up drama, this could have been a powerful piece, but as a horror film, there's some dilution that takes place. Tullo's film sometimes feels like it doesn't quite know what it wants to be, and as a hybrid, both sides of the genre slip a little. But only "just" because, honestly? I really enjoyed the horror aspects and especially liked the biblical tie-ins. Pick your path. Up above or down below with the devils and demons. Sure, things could have gone one way or another when considering the genre, but I liked the mix—a little bit for everyone.
At the end of the day "Repent" is a short film with some excellent performances and a lot of heart. It looks nice. It sounds nice. It plays nice. The message is clear as crystal, and the style made for a nice trip. Anthony Tullo and his troupe have created a pretty darn good short film. Of that, there is absolutely no question—three and a half stars.