Prolific short film director Andrew J.D. Robinson is back with Making Faces, a nine-minute tale of photographs, cell phones, and fear.
Cassie (Willow McGregor) is trying to take some happy smiley selfies, but she keeps fighting back tears. She’s obviously suffering but trying to hide it. To add to her issues a photograph she ordered arrives but is blank. She leaves a message for the photographer, who promptly calls her back.
The two talk about resolving the issue and the discussion moves to how Lea (Erin Kiniry) gets these striking but odd shots. As they talk, Cassie begins to sense she’s not alone in her apartment.
It’s not entirely fair to compare Making Faces to either of the other shorts I’ve seen from Robinson. It’s about half as long as We Know You Are Home. And only a third the length of The Becky Carmichael Fan Club. As a result, it lacks the depth and complexity of those films.
As a quick build-up to a jump scare Making Faces works quite well. There’s a definite sense of dread once Cassie starts hearing things, and it’s built up nicely. Nothing is really explained, or if it was, I missed it. Knowing the how and why would have been nice but the film works well enough without those details.
Which is not to say that it doesn’t have any deeper meaning. There’s a thread running through Making Faces about the disconnect between how we present ourselves and who we really are. That’s something the film’s brief coda featuring another of Lea’s customers, Becky reinforces. She’s voiced by Gabrielle Banville who played Becky Carmichael. If you’ve seen The Becky Carmichael Fan Club it makes the point that much clearer.
You can check Making Faces and the director’s other films out on his YouTube channel.