People often seek answers from God in times of struggle and suffering. But what if God answered physically? Perhaps the more relevant question; Which god heard the call? the director Rebekah McCandry‘s successful Single location frames the genre-bender around these questions, creating a dark comedic and bloody cosmic journey for a man trapped in a toilet.
Wes (Ryan Kwanten) is a complete mess after the breakup. He clings to the teddy bear that his lost love gives him and remains out of his car aimlessly. The morning after a particularly rough emotional episode, in which Wes gets drunk and sets his pants on fire at a restroom, his hangover sends him scrambling for the restroom. Wes caught his stall neighbor’s notice (JK Simmons), sending them both on a strange, more terrifying, and expansive journey that will make Wes realize his pitiful place in the universe.
McKendry, working from a script written by todd rigne, Joshua Hull, and David Ian McKendry, takes restraint in capturing an increasingly bizarre story. There is a simplicity to the setup. A man, an emotional wreck, gets stuck in a dirty restroom with an unknown stranger, locked in a dark corner stall. It puts Kwanten at the forefront of a character-driven indie breakup feature that slowly, at first, then falls once more into a strange Lovecraftian nightmare.
The details behind Wes’s breakup, or even the life before his cosmic encounter, remain unclear. McCandry, through conversation or flashback, mashes enough breadcrumbs to finally reveal Wes’s truth, linking his past to his painful present. Still, it’s too thin to be completely satisfied.
Parallel to the mysteries of Wes’s past lies his present dilemma and what this stranger wants from him. What starts out as a friendly but awkward conversation between strangers turns into a serious astronomical discovery. it’s here successful Cuts loose with his dark humour, elevating awkwardness and Lovecraftian horror with fast pace. To that end, McKendry happily let her sense of dementia run wild. The punishment given to Wes is wildly entertaining, whether by embarrassing himself through social interactions or being subjected to bloody fluids.
Kwanten and Simmons, who have never been seen, play each other well in the weirdest horror odd couple ever seen. Their chemistry and the bizarre relationship between humans and others make for an easy focal point, while Wes, on his own, is relatively difficult to understand. Kwanten is fully committed to gossip and squabble; Wes’ adventures in a dirty public bathroom inhabited by an enigmatic cosmic entity may prove to be an endurance test for germophobes.
successful May be almost entirely within a small space, but McKendry is full of it intimidating personality. There is an invention for staging that captures the vastness of the universe, albeit a small cube set piece. In an otherwise non-descript setting, the filmmaker infuses visual interest; No small feat here.
Brilliant casting, superb camerawork, and a prickly sense of humor make this a surprising new entry in single-location horror. There’s a lot of restraint about the lead character, narrowing down the punchlines a bit. Still, it’s a quick-and-dirty tale of cosmic karma that will likely leave you whispered, craved, and tickled alike.
successful Made its world premiere at the Fantasia International Film Festival and has been acquired by Shudder. Release TBD.