To Dust Return – Short premieres at SDCC Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival 2015.

Movie Poster - To Dust Return

Director Chris Peters debuts this new short film for its world premiere at SDCC today, which will simultaneously open up the horror block for the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival 2015.

The film opens on such a saccharine sweet scenario that you know their happiness is doomed.  A beautiful young couple (the dreamy Sam Jaeger most recently seen in American Sniper and the NBC series Parenthood, and Jennifer Morrison from the fairy tale mashup Once Upon a Time on ABC) prepare their nursery to receive their new child, who’s ready to pop out of the mommy belly any minute now.  Cut from the joyous and brightly pre-birth rituals to a sad papa picking up the fallen letters of the child’s name from an empty crib in a now shadow-enshrouded nursery.  Just from the change in lighting alone we know something has gone terribly wrong.  The baby’s mother seems more at peace than the husband with this tragic loss, and we soon find out how and why this is in what appears to be the great hook of the film.  But it’s the father’s response that really takes the cake…

I have mixed feelings about this opening the horror block, as it seems more like twisted drama than horror.  Certainly what happens is horrible, just not horrifying in the genre-specific way.  The implications of the film’s last 2 minutes are terrifying to contemplate, yet the overriding tone is one of tragedy and grief more than horror.  Having said that, I cannot deny that the film and it’s conclusion crept under my skin quite effectively, when you really start to think about the father’s actions following the last line uttered by Morrison.  With that said, I would still rate this short very highly, for the emotional sincerity of the excellent performances and for creating a hook that actually caught something meaningful in the process.  Some of us deal with grief in strange ways sometimes…