What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done when you’ve gotten blackout drunk? Who amongst us hasn’t woken up after a night of tossing back far too much devil’s brew with no memory of shenanigans indulged in the evening before?
Our title character in the short film Simone wakes up looking like a woman about to take the dreaded walk of shame. Simone (Jennifer Ward) wakes up in a strange bed, naked except for a pair of panties, her makeup smeared, eyes bloodshot, and hair a tussled bird’s nest. As the events from the previous night come back in small doses, it becomes apparent that Simone didn’t just have a typical night of binge drinking.
Director Joops Fragale manages to hold interest by walking the fine line between gory horror and eroticism. As Simone makes her way through her unfamiliar surroundings and begins to piece back the events of the previous evening, we get glimpses as to what might have happened. It starts with tiny moments, like noticing the smeared blood on her fingertips as she checks her voice mail. Things escalate, and it’s a no brainer to say that anytime you wake up puking hair, and that hair isn’t your own, you’ve had a tough night.
As Simone makes her way through her unfamiliar surroundings, following a blood spattered trail through the rooms, snippets from the night before come back to her. After meeting Eve (Erin Cline) at a bar, the two hit it off, toss back some shots and head back to Eve’s for a steamy night of late night Cinemax inspired loving. Mixed in with shots of steamy passion are glimpses of the following morning of carnage until Simone comes face to face with the brutal ending to her tryst.
Despite its short run time, Fragale does a fine job dragging out the suspense as to what happened the night before. There’s a terrific chemistry between Simone and Eve and their love scene comes off as hot without feeling like a cheap porn rush. The flashbacks to the night before and the slow reveal to what happened are well executed. Fragale does a terrific job of keeping viewers guessing as to what happened, as we’re left every bit in the dark as Simone as she her memory returns in fragments while coming down off her hangover.The hair-puking scene is a standout, and from that moment on the film had my rapt attention.
My one piece of advice would be to cut the last few seconds out of the film. It didn’t need a Paranormal Activity tacked on jump scare. Nor does Fragale need to beat his audience over the head with Simone’s secret. It stands out, and not in a good way, against the slow build up and reveal from the previous sixteen minutes of film. As it is, the moments that precede it, with Simone and Eve bathed in the moonlight on the kitchen floor, are haunting and beautiful, and everything that comes before it leads nicely into those few seconds.
One nice thing about Simone is you can judge this one for yourself. Head over to the website and order your own copy (386 Films website). The official copy comes with a making of feature, behind the scenes footage more, totaling about 85 minutes of extras. Take some extra Christmas cash and add a terrific new indie short to your collection.