Laura Panic (2008) by Adam Wingard: Saturday Night Short Film #18
Saturday Night Short Film is meant to shine light on short films since I don’t see much discussion about them around the internet, outside of websites dedicated to them. The purpose of these articles is not to give full reviews but instead offer more bite-sized commentary on the selected short. Laura Panic is Saturday Night Short Film #18.
Godzilla vs Kong finally released on March 31, a few days ago. I figured that it would be timely to focus a little bit on the director of that, Adam Wingard, who also directed You’re Next and The Guest–both movies I enjoyed. I’m not familiar with the rest of his filmography but that’s even more reason to watch Laura Panic, the first installment in the aptly titled “Forgot My Meds” trilogy. Or at least, I think it’s aptly titled because I’ve only watched this one so far.
Laura Panic revolves around Laura, a pretty–her words–woman who is, ahem, fascinated by a man that she doesn’t know. She follows him around and within the few minutes that this film occupies, it takes a dark turn.
And yet, Wingard films it like it’s a cheesy romance flick. The music is like something you’d expect from a dating commercial, even as the subject matter veers off into a completely opposite direction. This contrast creates an enticing tone that isn’t around long enough to overstay its welcome, and instead amplifies what’s happening.
In Laura’s mind this is all perfect, the origin story of two soulmates. Her psychology is reflected in the music, even as something entirely different is embodied physically. I really dug that aspect of this short.
The woman who played Laura, Hannah Hughes, was not up to the task. It’s not that she was expected to show a lot of diversity, but the delivery of her lines came across as very amateurish. She had a clear attitude that she needed to embrace, but instead of feeling genuine, it devolved into a specific brand of overacting where the actress thinks that her stylistic choice is accurately reflecting the mindset of her character but instead just comes off as wooden and, frankly, try hard.
Even still, I’d encourage people to check this one out. I plan on completing the trilogy eventually because the first’s idea was enough to encourage me to go along for the ride. It’s not the most brilliant short I’ve covered here by any means, but it’s quick and to the point, doesn’t waste your time, and is competent enough to feel worthwhile.
He stalks his hay.