Austin Film Festival 2019: ‘Together’ is a Perfect Horror Short

Reading Time: 3 minutes

TOGETHER

Together made its US debut at the 2019 Austin Film Festival. From director Ryan Oksenberg, the film follows Julia (Arielle Hader), a biohazard remediation cleaner and Clayton (Clayton Farris), a man whose appetite for his work has pushed him into an ethically horrifying impasse.

Together, a dark horror-comedy, is a proper three-act short that opens with a man stumbling in the woods, biting a camper. After that, the film goes straight into Julia’s life, who is taking care of her mother and running her business, cleaning up the depressing gore left after people’s deaths.

While the shift is one that doesn’t fit right away as the story unravels and we meet Clayton, the bitten camper, again, it all begins to make sense. When one of her regular technicians refuses to clean a particularly messy job she has to act fast in order to protect the family, whose life she is cleaning up, and who she identifies with. She thumbs through her applications to find Clayton. But the call is a little too late as he begins to change.

TOGETHER

The film works because in 19-minutes the story delivered is one with weight, humor, and pushes our characters to the brink. While Farris’ performance is humorous and extremely well-done, it’s Hader’s performance that is captivating, as her character experiences a range of emotions and flashbacks to her childhood triggered by the event she’s cleaning.

The dialogue itself showcases desperation and sadness for Julia and craze and confusion for Clayton. Additionally, the relationships are so quickly established and genuine that the film stands out, not only for its weirdly engrossing premise but because of the acting strength of Hader and Farris.

What do you do when your livelihood can be set by an unethical practice, and what happens when that unethical practice shows up begging for assistance? Julia is a haunted character, who when pushed to make this choice, leans on her mother.

TOGETHER

I am in love with Together in both its somber moments and its humorous ones. I’m moved by it. But also, its set design and effects make the setting feel real. The blood doesn’t look like movie blood, the death doesn’t look like movie death, and it’s not staged and proper but disgusting and depressing. Not to mention the effects work in the last act when Julia is haunted by her decision to accept help for the job after knowing Clayton’s nature is superb.

Together is a short that I would love to see expanded into a series, or at the very least a feature. There is so much left to explore between Clayton and Julia, and yet, the film pulls of making me want more while leaving me full as well when it wraps.

Together
  • 10/10
    Rating - 10/10
10/10

TL;DR

Together is a short that I would love to see expanded into a series, or at the very least a feature. There is so much left to explore between Clayton and Julia, and yet, the film pulls of making me want more while leaving me full as well when it wraps.