Thursday, December 15, 2011


Directed by: José Pedro Lopes
Released: 2011

I was fortunate enough to have a message in my Facebook inbox one day from the exceptionally talented Mr. Lopes, asking if I'd be interested in watching and reviewing his short, 'Survivalismo'.
I had recently found out the film was selected into the 2012 Jennifer's Bodies Film Festival, which is run by one of my favorite ladies in the history of the world, Jennifer Cooper, out in Scotland. So if Ms. Cooper was enamored with it enough to add it to her film festival, I knew it was going to be something that was going to knock my socks off.

Holy shit, what an understatement.

'Survivalismo' is eight minutes and ten seconds of some of the most raw, nerve-racking emotional twists and turns I've ever experienced in a film.

Director Lopes does an unbelievable job immediately gluing your eyes to the screen and once the final credits start rolling, there's a good chance you'll realize you didn't blink at all in those 490 seconds that you just watched.

The lead character, an unnamed man whose face we never seen, awakes in a dingy basement with a burlap sack over his head and a noose around his neck. He is teetering on a chair and before long, he is also teetering on the edge of sanity- spinning through the 'five stages of grief', as defined by the Kübler-Ross Model at a break neck pace.
We find out more about this fellow in eight minutes than his best friend, girlfriend and anyone else close to him know in the lifetime they've spent together.

Does the man survive or does he succumb to his grief over the truth as he crashes through the Five Stages?

Reminiscent of the original 'Saw' in several regards, but even MORE psychologically effective, 'Survivalismo' left my jaw hanging and my blood cold when the final scene cut.

Hollywood, you've been warned- it's minds like Mr. Lopes that are keeping independent films rolling on all cylinders. Tinseltown big wigs, you could learn a thing or two (or five) from peeps like José.

Here is a current listing of the film festivals this film is shining at:

Arouca Film Festival (Portugal) - Official Competition
Puerto Rico Horror Film Festival (Puerto Rico) - Official Competition
Abertoir - Wales' National Horror Festival (UK) - Melies D'Or Competition
San Diego Horrible Imaginings Film Festival (USA)
The Antic Horror Picture Show of Barcelona (Spain) - Guest short film
Deboshir Film Festival (Saint Petersburg, Russia)
Festival Multimédia de Ovar (Ovar, Portugal)
Streaming Film Festival (The Hague, Netherlands)
Shortcutz Porto (Portugal)
Jennifer's Bodies 2012 - Scotland's WiH Event (UK)

My Grade:  10/10

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