This short film from writer/director Brady Jacquin is definitely on the creepy side, and for what it's worth, "Thoughts Return" is like that because it's deadly accurate. It's to the point where I felt like, even in writing this review - that I should probably include some sort of disclaimer that if you or anyone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts - that there are avenues for you to get some help.
For a brief moment in time, which is the short distance that "Thoughts Return" takes place within, I was blown away by how raw and honest this film could be on the inside of its story. Blurring the lines between fact and fiction ain't an easy task, yet Jacquin has found a haunting way to do exactly that with what you'll see and, perhaps more importantly to this particular film, what you'll hear. What we witness and experience in "Thoughts Return" is the constant battle for sanity. Sure, you could take what you see as the mere moment that plays out in front of us, but I saw what this film was trying to communicate, say, and represent as something even more significant than that.
Essentially, it's a bold look at what it's like to be one of those people with suicidal thoughts - and how they can dominate who we are, what we do, and our will to live daily. These are the residents in our head that never leave, and in "Thoughts Return," you'll see them continually crushing the spirit of the main character David, every bit as much as you'll hear them as he tries to hold onto his sanity and his reasons for living. Anyone who thinks this is easy is wrong and hasn't been there. You don't need to be 'crazy' to hear 'voices' in your mind – we all communicate internally with ourselves in different ways. Some of us are blessed with a nice ol' Jiminy Cricket to guide us, while many of us end up dealing with a tougher side of our personality, recommending that we take action to harm ourselves or act out in different ways. What separates us is how much weight those voices apply and how we act on what they say.
So no joke, folks, if you're struggling with finding a reason to keep going or can't figure out what the point of life is, avoid "Thoughts Return" for your own damn good. I mean this in the most sincere way for your mental health and the most complementary way for the short film. It's not too often that we see something onscreen tackle such harsh terrain in such an accurate way, and it's because "Thoughts Return" deals with impending suicide so directly - that it becomes scary. What you'll witness happening to David could happen to you, me, or anyone we know, and at any time.
You could look at what Brady has created as twisted, sure… I'd understand if you did. But, I see it as a film written by someone who has authentically BEEN there - you know what I mean? All said and done, "Thoughts Return" depicts the hollow isolation and haunted thoughts so perfectly that it's frightening… it'll make your blood run cold, and the color vanish from your complexion if you've been anywhere close to suicidal thoughts before in your lifetime. I know this film did that for me 100%.
While it's fair to say that I think folks that have been closer to the scenario and storyline of a film like this one - on a personal level in real life will get that much more out of it. I think others will enjoy it on a more fictional level too. They probably wouldn't understand how realistic what they'll see in "Thoughts Return" really is – and that's ultimately a really good thing. If you're one of those people that hasn't had to deal with anything like what you'll experience in "Thoughts Return," you're among this planet's luckiest…and be thankful for that, my friends. For far too many of us do, and not everyone survives it all. I don't know that these same folks would quite appreciate everything about a film like this on the same level that those that have been there can, but I do still think "Thoughts Return" is well worth the watch if only to learn more about what the internal struggle to stay alive can be like for people. Even watching this film can tell a lot about who we are.
To me, I almost watched it like it was a freakin' documentary, while for others, it would be a concept far beyond what they could conceive. I thought the acting was solid, the scenes were well shot, and above all things, I felt like the mood and tone of the film were what won me over the most and put me directly into David's shoes to understand how intense these types of thoughts and feelings can indeed be. Would I have liked a bit more to the story? Sure – but that's largely the case when it comes to most short films. Brady accomplished what he set out to accomplish and created a moment in time that'll fully cling to your bones and to the thoughts in your mind long after it's over. "Thoughts Return" gets a well-earned four stars out of five from me.