Suspense creeps through your body like a silent and slow stream under the ice-crusted surface of the frozen river while watching a 2013 post-apocalyptic short film written and directed by Jeremy Robbins.
A story about about two brothers in the search for a place to call home in a hostile world where everything is frozen and turned into ice except for the memories of a hot meal, a roof over your head and a warm bed, childhood movie characters materialized through a mask of Darth Vader and a strong sense of brotherhood and caring for your sibling, grips you with the first seconds of Aftermath.
As the story unfolds and we are vortexed into the dystopian world of Jem and Cody, we feel the weight of responsibility Cody carries in looking after his younger brother and keeping them both alive. Their world is a world without friends and humanity, the few remaining strangers are enemies by default. You talk to them only by shouting out a warning to stop and get out of here, observing them through the rifle scope and shot to the head that follows. Pure instinct for survival rules and dominates their world and it is so intense, raw and palpable as their longing for the innocence of the lost world they still so vividly remember.
In its 19 minutes (wish it lasted six times longer!) Aftermath delivers us strong performances by Noah Robbins and Will Rogers, stunning beauty and elegance of the photography that walks us through the post-apocalyptic wild of Vermont, natural sounds and music which play with our nerves and grace and elegance of the director's touch.
If Hollywood movies today were like Aftermath, we wouldn't feel cheated of our money and time as it often is the case. Instead, we would walk out of the theater fulfilled, deeply impressed and richer for an experience that will urge and make us want to watch such a brilliant film at least once again.