A Good Concept For A Scene | “DIG” (2022) Short Film Review

InReview often gets sent screeners for short films from independent filmmakers and our mailbox has been backed up. “DIG” by writer-director Gary J. Hewitt is one such film that has been languishing in our virtual mailbag.

The film only has two characters in it — a mom (Susan Sims) and a daughter (Sophie Clifton). The short film is only seven minutes long and the majority of it is a sequence in which the mother digs up a time capsule with a stuffed animal, a picture and other keepsakes in the present day on a beach, while footage from the past in which her and her daughter are burying it is interspersed without. The expression on Sims’ face in the present — accompanied by gloomy weather and lighting — makes it obvious that something terrible has happened.

Hewitt has requested that we do not spoil this film, which is a thoroughly ridiculous request given its length. But even if we did delve into specifically what happened to the daughter, the film itself doesn’t give much in terms of context or specifics. There’s many pieces missing in this story, so much so that this short film functions at best as a proof of concept of a few scenes with interesting ideas.

The concept this film portrays is a good one, as it shows a mother processing the unimaginable. Indeed, in the context of a much longer film where we get to know more of the mother and daughter’s relationship and what led to the film’s tragedy, the blueprint for this film would work wonderfully. It’s also held back by flat direction and cinematography — there are flashes of a good performance by Sims in this film, it’s just not highlighted the way it needs to be through the use of tight angles, closeup shots and other tricks of the trade that would put her reactions and emotions front-and-center.

Still, there are some very good ideas in this film; I encourage Hewitt to explore them deeper in a longer work.

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