Short Film Review: Valibation

The premise behind Valibation says Cronenberg all over it. The reference isn’t subtle either. The body horror short opens with Geena Davis crying out as flesh slips off Jeff Goldblum on the television screen, while our lead character has his eyes fixed on his mobile phone.

He taps away on his little screen with no heed to the real happenings around him, which shouldn’t sound strange to most of us. Technology addiction has spun a wide web over the globe like an infectious epidemic. To some, turning to the mobile has become a reflex. So many just cannot keep away from the lure of its light, even when there is else to do.

Evading basic etiquette, the disease manifests in the most unwanted situations. People watch a film while on the move, game in the midst of watching a film, or as in the film, start to text during sex.

Valibation
Credit: Todd Strauss-Schulson

In response to the societal blight, director Todd Strauss-Schulson conjures up this brilliant high-strung nightmare, in which he interprets the implications of dependency on our devices with a ghastly literal twist.

Its tagline – “It isn’t in you, it is you” – questions whether technology defines, or even consumes us. The translation results in a clever metaphor, as the leading man wakes one day to find his gadget gruesomely melded into his palm.

The tension-filled, fast-moving images creates a marvellously stylised apprehension of the imagined future. In a short span of twenty minutes, the film impresses with outstanding aesthetics and a fantastic spark of dark twisted humour.

As the terror unfolds and takes an unexpected turn, Valibation horrifies the viewer into a thoughtful disposition, beneath it a hint of an uncomfortable smile.

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