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inside scarlett

Directed by: Carter Mays
Starring: Isabelle Gardo

Certain genres of film are just really difficult to get right. Romantic comedies and horror are two of the most challenging genres to work in. Both of these genres have well worn formulas that filmmakers can accidentally fall into along with issues related to the limitations of low budget filmmaking. Many filmmakers dodged the low budget problem by telling their stories with found footage but that tool has now become a worn out formula in and of itself. Inexperienced writers, or directors that have literally directed themselves into a corner with no way out often implement the more overused formulaic tools of horror. Inside Scarlet, while not a traditional “horror” film does feature tropes of the genre and limitations of low budget filmmaking.

Inside Scarlett tells the story of a disturbed young girl that can’t leave her home. Her father pays her bills and apparently gives her money for expenses so she can order food. She struggles to survive day to day with her only connection to the outside world being a female friend and a neighbor boy who likes wearing a rabbit costume. After a party Scarlett has a psychotic break and begins to talk with, and start a relationship with one of her stuffed animals. The film covers up paint by the numbers story with some odd characters and jumps in time and flashbacks. The resulting viewing experience is often confusing but due to a few good performances compelling. The entire film hangs on the shoulders of Isabelle Gardo as Scarlett. While she doesn’t rescue the film she does a great job of trying. Her emotional range is solid and when her character works it’s because she makes her work.

At the end of the hour and a half there are some solid laughs, a great performance by Gardo, and enough oddities to appease some viewers looking for something unique. While this film is far from perfect, honestly it’s mostly not good, it deserves screening at festivals. I say that because there are moments of greatness from the director, definitely from the lead actress, and from the cinematographer. These folks have talent that needs more practice so yes in that regard the film is worth a look. I’d love to see the director work with a solid writer rather than doing both jobs as he did for this film. See Inside Scarlett if you are looking for a bizarre film experience but not if you are looking for a film that’s complete in story or execution.