REVIEW: The Childish Thing
– By Dave Dubrow
Jeremy Herbert’s short The Childish Thing does just about everything right, from writing to acting to pacing, making it a rare delight. Its thirty minute runtime is just enough to tell a complete story with pathos and humor, and if the message at the end might seem a little muddled, it somehow makes that part of its considerable charm.
Is it horror? Sort of, but it’s subtle and deep, and the protagonist Jack makes us feel every bit of it in a terrific performance. He’s tasked with cleaning out the basement and garage of the home he’s lived in since childhood, and hence must grapple with all the issues that entails. His absent brother, clearly loved, leaves an aching hole in the narrative that the viewer can’t help but fill, and that’s one of the movie’s greatest strengths: what it doesn’t say, what it doesn’t show.
Themes of change, of grief and brotherhood and friendship mingle beautifully, and through a kind of movie magic that only a skilled director could pull off, the monster antagonist, as ludicrous as it appears, manages to make itself a true icon of fear. The characters were both relatable and likable, even the annoying girlfriend, a typically thankless role.
This is not the kind of movie I’d have chosen to watch myself, but I’m lucky I got to see it. If The Childish Thing ever shows up on your radar, put your eyeballs on it. And then tell us how much you liked it at The Slaughtered Bird.