Dir. Richard Powell (2010)
A look inside the dark mind of a high-school teacher.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Worm was the first short I watched from Fatal Pictures long ago, and it absolutely blew my mind. This is one of those types of films that most directors don’t want to touch, a topic that most people have no interest in getting near. Richard Powell, paired once again with his partner-in-crime Robert Nolan, delves into the psyche of a high-school teacher named Geoffrey Dodd. His outward appearance is one of trust, the mentor that tries his best to impart wisdom to his students and be the perfect coworker as well. His internal monologue, however, is filled with the dark desires that dwell within our nightmares . It’s darkly comic in a way, a revered civil servant with the mind of a school shooter, guarding his thoughts and actions lest the poison seep out into the real world but stumbling across thoughts that most of us have had from time to time.
It is an interesting concept to explore, the notion that we never truly know what’s going on inside other people’s heads. While this short doesn’t culminate in bloodshed, there’s no promise that it won’t tomorrow, no guarantee that Nolan’s character won’t go apeshit the next time the bell rings. What is the line that is drawn between those that dream and those that do? Where is the line crossed between the darkest fantasies of a disturbed mind and those behind the vicious inhumanity of Columbine? We know that Dodd comes close just in the time in which we’re granted access to his mind, but we’re never sure if this is the first time he’s almost pulled the trigger on his depraved plans. We see hundreds of people just like him on a daily basis; how many of them harbor these same evil fancies?
Ultimately, that is where Powell really shines as a writer. He takes commonplace ideas and concepts and reveals the monstrous underpinnings behind them. It’s not rare that someone feels differently inside than they display in public, and you can never be sure that those inner monologues aren’t of the murderous kind. Child molestation is an unfortunate common occurrence in our world, but is it possible it could be made more monstrous, like in Heir? Mid-life crises can be a bitch, but how many of them end up like Nolan’s character in Familiar? The Boxcutter Trilogy is stellar escapism, providing its audience with a way to explore everyday occurrences within a fantasy realm that strikes very close to reality. All three films are fantastic, and I can’t wait to see what Fatal Pictures comes up with next.
Who this movie is for: Short film fans, Psychological horror lovers, Middle-school principals
Bottom line: Powell knows how to ratchet up the tension and Nolan is his perfect muse. Worm is their first short together, and you can already tell that the relationship gels in such a dangerous and important way. Each time I watch one of these shorts, I’m distressed that Powell hasn’t received the recognition that he deserves on a wider scale. Worm is outstanding, and if you’re a fan of indie horror shorts, this one is an outstanding opening to The Boxcutter Trilogy that is absolutely worth a look. I’m always big on supporting indie horror, and you can purchase The Boxcutter Trilogy here to throw some love to the incredible Fatal Pictures.
Here’s the link to the sale site: https://fatalpictures.bigcartel.com/product/the-box-cutter-trilogy