Survival Skills

Survival Skills

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Rarely have I been as surprised watching a film than watching this picture! It's creative and heart-braking, with brilliant lighting and "8 mm" cinematography. The film balances a cheeky tone homaging VHS Training Tapes from the 80s and 90s while also facing the true fears, problems, and repercussions of trying to break through systemic issues of domestic violence and the police. It's not an anti-police film, but it's against the corrupt systems that prevent healing and justice.

My heart was on the edge of my seat for most of its runtime, and the meta twists, turns and subversions made me as engaged as I was confused and terrified. At moments, the film breaks into horror, but it never feels out of place, nor does it feel as if the film is pretentious or untruthful. Had it been just the mental-breakdown of a cop with weird VHS flourishes, it probably wouldn't have had the impact it clearly does.

From what I know, this is Quinn Armstrong's first feature, and I hope he and lead actor Vayu O'Donnell create and act in even greater projects in the future! I'm so happy I stumbled upon this. ACAB.

Shot by Allie Schultz
- Arri Alexa

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