#FANTASIA: “SURVIVAL SKILLS”
By Amanda Gilmore
In a lost 1980s police training video, ‘perfect’ Rookie Officer Jim (Vayu O’Donnell) goes “off-script” when he tries to solve a domestic abuse case outside the restricted rules of the law.
This whip-smart satirical Dark-Comedy is both a throwback to survival skill VHS tapes and a critical look into the confined limits police officers have with cases. Writer-Director Quinn Armstrong has impressively adapted his short film of the same name into an intelligent first Feature that masters the art of heavy-hitting dark-comedy. His unique vision to use the VHS common 4:3 aspect ratio with pivotal VHS jumps creates immense authenticity. This creative decision becomes additionally beneficial during the climactic Third Act when an abrupt change in the story causes a modern visual change in aspect ratio. O’Donnell perfectly captures the far-fetched acting of those ’80s training videos while never becoming unbelievable. He has a natural charisma and charm that’s required to keep audiences rooting for in over his head Jim.
Survival Skills will be available on-demand through Fantasia Fest Aug 20 – Sept 2.