The Boxleitner Brothers, Lee and Sam, are two of my favorite horror short film-makers. From ghosts in the basement to men running around in diapers, they’ve done it all and pulled it off with massive success. What’s so great about their dedication and work ethic is that they consistently prove that they’re far from one trick ponies. They try to tell relate-able stories with twists and turns and a big dose of horror. Their latest short film, Quitter, continues this adventure and sees the brothers tackling a project that I feel is a three part series somehow condensed into a twelve minute movie. Based on the screenplay by Lee and Sam, Quitter finds Jenna making appointments at a hypnotherapist’s office to cope with a bad break up and her desire to kick her smoking addiction. As her psyche wears and her sessions go horribly wrong, Jenna is forced to make a terrifying decision. Sasha Boggs, Sam Boxleitner and Kathryn Holcomb star in this new Seabirds Production which features cinematography from Dave Jacobsen and editing from Lee Boxleitner.
Let me break down my feelings on Quitter being a twelve minute, three part series. The beginning, arguably the first three minutes, comes off as an experimental piece; almost fantastical or in line with something from The Twilight Zone. The ringing telephone can represent the nagging feeling an addiction can cause or the nagging pit in your stomach to reach out to an ex. Then, the next few minutes mirror something out of A Nightmare on Elm Street, especially with that bedroom scene. And then the last few minutes bring everything together in a really refined way. The last few minutes reminded me of more classic cinema. It’s a trippy, up and down experience and, without wanting to get massacred for this, it kind of reminds me of something Jordan Peele would do. Thought provoking and unexpected and horrific all rolled into one. I think Quitter‘s real narrative is up for interpretation, but these were my thoughts coming out of my viewing. What matters most, as a viewer, is that Quitter kept me entertained and wondering what’s going to happen with Jenna next.
Now, in the effort of fairness, I don’t think Quitter is Lee and Sam’s best work to date. The acting is on point, the camera work and editing is flawless, and I can really get behind the theme of no more cigarettes. This one just didn’t have the same punch in the gut that their previous work, Die! Sitter! Die! Rupert, contains and the different methods of storytelling weren’t always cohesive and clear. They set the bar so high with their last short film that they are forced to keep reaching to the next level. I applaud anyone for trying something different and Lee Boxleitner and Sam Boxleitner are kings of originality, but this one was missing their usual flare. Maybe I was looking for more horror than experimental art? Still, Quitter is a visually pleasing, moody quest for peace and one that may ultimately lead to death. I enjoyed it despite my last sentiment, and I encourage you to watch the mini-movie at the bottom of this post. Final Score: 7 out of 10.