Often, grief and depression follow each other around like an old, rusted-out train embedded on its ancient track. Sure, the two don't always need each other to exist, but it's easy to understand how one emotion can feed off the other. But what happens when those unwanted emotional states join together to form an entirely new monster? An ugly murderous being determined to create the perfect caricature of his ideal woman? In the most literal of senses, writer and director Sheldon Maddux explores this concept in his short film "She's Perfect." The results? A reminder that a steady hand and determination are not just the traits required for success - but also a one-way ticket into hell itself.
"She's Perfect" starts innocently enough. Jack is a little disheveled - but not for the reason you may think. After a successful career as a surgeon, it seems that he has retired and now has a lot of free time on his hands. His wife, however, has not. After begging her to take a day off from her job, Jack is left to his own devices - and attempts to fill his time doing pretty much anything and everything he can. But what fun is free time when you have nobody to spend it with? Shortly afterward, Jack's phone ringing becomes the trigger that sets a horrific chain of events in motion. His wife has died, and now Jack is alone in the world. For now, at least.
The second half of this short film is where "She's Perfect" switches gears and where you, the viewer, realize you're not watching a simple love story or witnessing a tale of loss and grief. Not at all. It also becomes apparent that Jack's background as a surgeon becomes the perfect seed - adding an extra element of realism to this horrific story. Our protagonist may have lost the love of his life, but he's a brilliant, experienced surgeon, and there's no reason he can't build another one. No reason he can't "create" the perfect woman - one that will stay with him forever and ever. Well, reader, maybe there's one reason ... but Jack won't let that stop him.
Let me be quick and to the point. "She's Perfect" may not be entirely new from a story perspective, but it's fresh and well-written enough to be more than entertaining. Add to that the fact it looks and sounds pretty great, and you have all the ingredients of a winner. To be both completely understood while also remaining vague, the concept is loosely a modern take on the Frankenstein story using grief and depression as the springboard - instead of the classic God complex associated with our green, bolt-necked monster. Well, actually, I suppose we "could" say that protagonist Jack "does" have a slight God complex - but that will be more for you, the reader, to decide. I can write that although not "really" overtly scary, "She's Perfect" is unnerving enough to be creepy. It also helps that the way Jack descends into, dare I write, madness - is something most of us will understand. Hopefully not relate to, but understand completely. Essentially Maddux is reiterating that if pushed enough ... anyone can become a monster in order to create what they consider perfection and that, reader, is a scary thought.
At the end of the day, I really only have good things to say about this short film. It's a very well-acted short film that should almost instantly captivate its audience. The performances make this title work in terms of pacing and that tonal shift from happy-go-lucky to monstrous mayhem. Actually, they work excellently. There's not a lot else to write except to attempt and nudge some eyeballs onto this movie. With such a short runtime, there's no reason not to see this when you can. Four stars.