There are short films that get wrapped up in their own mysterious styles and murky vagueness, and then there’s Jeremiah Kipp’s The Days God Slept. Kipp’s short film skates awfully close to being just another brick in the surrealistic wall but its consistency to its characters and story is what saves it, making it a memorable watch.
The Days God Slept gives the power to the audience to assume the context of the story – which is a move that can be a dangerous one. I read into Kipp’s short as an insight into the subconscious of our dazed lead character John (played by Malcolm Madera). John is a religious, sexually repressed man who is listening to the most intimate of secrets as told by the alluring Kristy (played by Lauren Fox).
When Kristy is letting John in to a closed off fragment of her life, John’s mind runs wild with emotion. Regret and vengeance being just two of these.
We see the environment change from a quiet park to a sleazy strip club. These jumps to the club could be John’s imagination drawing up conclusions as to how these people in Kristy’s story are. The boosted dreamy look and feel to these scenes as well as the abundance of nudity could reflect how John suspects these places are like – since they tend to be exaggerated at times.
While the film is jumpy, it never breaks an audience’s concentration to the story or the characters except for that first jump – but that’s expected when a jarring change such as this occurs. There may be plenty of switches to how the story is being told and how its being displayed to movie goers but the story itself never changes. We’re always able to follow along while the film throws challenges at us – a key quality that those aforementioned loopy shorts are missing.
I also admired how Kipp doesn’t get lost in the short’s style. It’s even more impressive because of how attractive the style is. The well calculated cinematography and the heavy post-production pays off adding to that fever dream sensation the film has going for it.
Most of the cast’s character development is kept at arm’s length because of how the unconventional narrative meshes with the short time duration, but a lot of The Days God Slept sticks with you. The fact that this filmmaker has managed to dodge a particular relentless hurdle sticks with us even more.