Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Cram (2023)

Movie Name/Year: Cram (2023)
Genre: Fantasy, Horror
Length: 44 min
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Terror Films, Radical Rhinoceros Pictures
Director: Abie Sidell
Actors: John Dimino, Brandon E. Burton, Rolando Chusan
Blurb from IMDb: We all do what we gotta do to pass - except Marc. Desperate to somehow finish his final final paper, he struggles to cram all night in the library. But the library has other plans for him.

Selina’s Point of View:
The trailer for Cram did nothing to portray just how surreal it was. I expected a somewhat basic horror story with a supernatural twist. That’s not at all what it was.
Cram was a fever dream allegory. What message it was portraying, however, is up for interpretation. I have two thoughts, but I think most everyone could get something different out of it.
For instance, I see the monstrous parts of the film as representing the predatory practices of universities. As a graduate, myself, I’m aware of those practices. Not the least of which involves a debt that I’ll be drowning in until I’m old and grey. I feel like that’s one of the more obvious representations, though. Most people watching Cram will likely see some form of that.
A more personal message I saw had to do with ADHD. I think that anyone struggling to understand a loved one who suffers from executive dysfunction, as a result of ADHD, should watch Cram. There were parts of it that felt so close to what executive dysfunction is like, that I felt almost uncomfortable watching it. It was as if I could see the most private parts of my brain splashed across the screen in a horrific way.

Despite how uncomfortable it was to watch, I’m thankful for it. Even if it wasn’t the writer/directors initial meaning. Just having that portrayed makes me feel seen.
Cram is more of a short film. It sits at 44-minutes long and feels shorter. We don’t tend to review short films, but we both felt a connection to the trailer, so we made an exception. I’m glad we did.
The acting, writing, and cinematography was of a much higher quality than I expected.
I’d love to see director Abie Sidell get the chance to create a full-length version of Cram. I would absolutely see that in theaters.
Cram will be available on digital, and on demand, March 17.

Cat’s Point of View:
I was fascinated with Cram when we first saw the trailer. I had so many questions - did the main character get high while trying to write their paper or did the pressure of the last-minute efforts cause a mental break? Did they simply fall asleep while working and have a crazy dream?
To tell you the truth, now that I’ve watched this short film, I’m not sure I got any of the answers I was looking for – but I did enjoy the journey all the same.
I could relate to Marc on a visceral level. I felt the stress of the down-to-the-wire paper writing. I often found myself in that position throughout my school career. Of course, I had no idea that part of my issue was due to ADHD at that time. I didn’t even realize that could even be a thing for me until a few years ago, as an adult. Usually, I was able to rally and cobble something together that worked - but there were a couple occasions when it was a lost cause.

Without diving down that rabbit hole further, it was easy to put myself in the character’s shoes. Further, libraries can be spooky when you’re alone in them – even if it’s just the section you’re working in. When you add something potentially paranormal on top of that, it’s a good recipe.
Cram was a trippy experience that covered a lot of ground in its short timeframe. I appreciated that the production team built suspense and thrills without utilizing jump scares around every corner.
There were a few odd moments, but it didn’t turn me off of the film as a whole.
I found Cram enjoyably interesting and would be glad to recommend it to anyone looking for just shy of 45-minutes of a spooky good time.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score –None
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 4/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating 4/5
Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R
Movie Trailer:

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