Directed by Rona Cohen
Synopsis:Courtesy of Rona Cohen
When Little Suzie, who hates tomatoes, is forced to live with her tomato-obsessed grandma, she decides to kill grandma so she wouldn’t have to eat tomatoes ever again.
This takes me back to 2006. I was watching an episode of The Sweet Life of Zack and Cody, it was the episode where Zach and Cody and some kids go out camping in the woods somewhere with their doorman Mr. Moseby, and they run out of food. The wise Mr. Moseby says to one of the children who declared he hated fish, “You’d be surprised how wonderful it tastes when you’re STARVING”. And that my dear reader, is exactly what I thought about after I finished watching this short.
Rotten is about a girl named Little Suzie (Ruby Donovan) who is left at her Grandma’s (Susan Edkins) house by her Mother (Emma Galianno) and her Father (Jonathan Curry). Little Suzie has a burning hatred for tomatoes, and it is revealed why after we see her Gramdma include them in every meal she makes.
The cinematography in Rotten reminded me of the cinematography in The Cat in The Hat starring Mike Myers, with shots of Grandma from Little Suzie’s POV occurring quite a bit and wide FOV shots also appearing, like when we see Grandma cooking in her kitchen decorated with tomato themed stuff. The usage of this didn’t add to the comedic effect this movie was going for unfortunately.
The editing for the most part was pretty good, with a strong continuity throughout the short. Although the scene where Little Suzie is sitting at Grandma’s dining table and the table utensils appear on the table like some sort of stop motion animation was an odd choice. It just came out of no where and was only used in that once scene to montage Grandma’s obsession with tomatoes.
The acting was decent, if not annoying at times. Some of the characters, ESPECIALLY Grandma exaggerate their every move, making me almost cringe every time they were on the screen. According to Cohen herself, this world is supposed to be over the top, however this doesn’t excuse the borderline cringe.
Rotten is supposed to be a dark comedy critiquing the perception adults have about kids “doing no wrong” because they are “innocent”. Right off the bat this film made be chuckle once, which doesn’t bode well for it’s comedic chops. What also doesn’t bode well for this film is it’s marriage of a serious idea with a not-so-serious way of going about it.
Adding comedy to a film to illustrate a point works well when the idea is to point out the ludicrous or archaic ways we do or think about things. This film as a math equation nails that formula to the “t”, but this is a film, and this film fails to illustrate its point in a meaningful and thought provoking way. Instead, Rotton makes me sympathize with the Little Suzie for killing Grandma, because Grandma is such a bad caricature, and I praise her for doing so. If Little Suzie was more sinister, then the point the filmmakers were making would have hit me. In short, make me feel the impact through a Watsonian viewpoint, not a Doylian one.
4 out of 10 Splats of Blood