Cerritosis Movie Review
Written by Milos Jovanovic
Written and directed by Steven Cerritos
2007, 12 minutes, Not rated
Brian C. Lawlor as Brian
Roach Far as himself (voiced by Bradley Tyler Delaire)
Andrea Ballarin as Mr. Smith (voiced by Bradley Tyler Delaire)
Luis Gonzales as Bloody Hobo
Michael Florio as Disturbed Butcher
Tafar as Mysterious Masked Entity (voiced by Mariko Matsumoto)
Roach Far is an ordinary Joe (with, admittedly, not so ordinary name), or so it seems upon first glance. When Roach meets a Microsoft employee by accident, he suddenly starts feeling increasingly paranoid, for no apparent reason. But when his TV back home starts acting weird, and a mysterious video message starts broadcasting from it, Roach is plunged headfirst into a bout of madness, which strikes in form of disturbing visions. Can Roach come to terms with what's happening to him?
Summing up a 12-minute feature is a difficult task, but I think I laid it out good for you up there, and you can pretty much expect what is coming at you. In this one fifth of an hour, writer/director Steven Cerritos treats us with an interesting look at mental illness, and how it can affect human brain. Roach Far himself is in late stages of "cerritosis", a make-believe ailment which, as the intro tells us, strikes only Hispanic people, and one in every few thousand is affected. For the most part, it manifests itself as regular schizophrenia...with an extra dose of acid thrown in for good measure.
Shot in muted sepia, Cerritosis looks great. Direction and editing are very competent for this level of filmmaking, with Cerritos paying a visual tribute to body horror greats David Cronenberg and Shinya Tsukamoto along the way — the video message Roach gets at home is pure Videodrome, while Tsukamoto's Tetsuo is honoured in one of Roach's visions, when he sees a man butchering himself while shaving. The psychedelic credits are top of the line as well, although, I'm not exactly sure we needed all that footage of deformed children gracing the opening; considering the fact film deals with mental disabilities rather than physical, one is inclined to think Cerritos tacked this on just for cheap shocks. Another curiosity is that the entire dialogue is dubbed into Japanese for whatever reason, so the film comes with hardcoded English subtitles. While this does not take quality away from the picture, considering that reliance on acting is minimal and that most exchanges are Roach Far talking to himself, the decision to go down this road is somewhat puzzling to me, unless Cerritos thought it would add extra dimension in reminiscing Tsukamoto and Sogo Ishii (another Japanese cyberpunk maverick) even further.
Cerritosis is an interesting short, well worth your time if you are a fan of abovegiven influences. Based on what I witnessed in those 12 minutes, Cerritos is a talented, prospective filmmaker, and I'm curious if he can translate the punch of Cerritosis into a feature-length film.
Audio, video and special features will not be graded as this is a screener.