Monday, August 22, 2011

Salute Your Shorts: Scrutinize


There is a twist involved with Scrutinize that I would dare not ruin for you beforehand, so check out the short before you read my thoughts. Go ahead…I can wait.

Written by Melanie Leanne Miller and directed by Elisabeth and Brenda Fies, Scrutinize, I think, pretty much speaks for itself. I suppose you could call it a moral tale of sorts, focusing on a young girl who would inadvertently be passing judgment on a duo of scummy creeper looking dudes and their seemingly skanky and highly intoxicated female companion. It's an uncomfortable feeling for the girl (played by the film's writer, Melanie Leanne Miller) as she sits in judgment, feeling as if she too is being judged by the trio. Naturally, things only get more uncomfortable for the young, pristine white lady when the dreaded black man enters her train (now if that's not a double entendre…). And when I say dreaded, I clearly don't mean his hair.   

Clutching her purse, she fears the worst as this (un) intimidating black man sits right next to her, all up in her grill. Her situation seems to go from bad to worse in her unfairly judgmental mind, as she internally projects her feelings of discomfort right out into the open, only to find her preconceived notions appearing to be coming true. Of course, the kicker that comes at the end is quite good, playing to the old adage that you can never judge a book by its cover in a way that is surprising and somewhat relieving as far as where the story goes.  

Scrutinize is well put together, and I enjoy how the silly, pop hip-hop dance song is bumping underneath the ominous score. It's a good way to keep you grounded in the situation while it still being tense. The subway setting is a nice change of pace from the usual short films I have watched. But what I think I dig the most about Scrutinize is the idea itself and how it's executed. It grabs your attention and keeps you wondering where it might go, only to have a genuinely smart and very fun reveal in the end. 

You can check out the Fies sisters You Tube channel for more shorts released under what they have dubbed Fies Sister Thrillers. Apparently, they release a new short every Thursday, and after finding myself having a good deal of joy with Scrutinize, I will certainly be keeping my eye on their other shorts as they come.


  1. Thanks so much Matt! The Fies Sisters are thrilled to be reviewed on the website with one of the fucking best names EVER!!!

  2. Ha ha, thanks so much for sharing the short with me! It was a lot of fun.

  3. After seeing it all I could say was, "Mooore!" Love it and would parrot everything you just said about it.

  4. Glad you liked it, Ashlee! There is so much good stuff to be discovered in the short film medium, and Scrutinize is a perfect example of what filmmakers with little money and great ideas are capable of.


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