There is something inherently menacing about a person who appears, on the outside, to be completely perfect, almost maniacally in control, but who occasionally shows cracks in their flawless exterior. Behind their gleaming smile, something darker lurks… a person teetering just on the edge of sanity. #eatpretty, a horror short by Rebecca Culverhouse, explores the dark side of social media, and the appearance of perfection that it allows us to present to the world.
Roseanna Frascona plays a product photographer, whose job as she describes it is to ‘capture little moments of perfection.’ Her entire life revolves around creating an appearance of flawlessness in an attempt to lure others into temptation. As the film progresses, it becomes clear that her need to consume the pretty things she pictures is all too literal.
Frascona is incredibly effective in her portrayal of someone whose faultless appearance and huge smile hides dark secrets, reminding us how easy it is to take everything on face value, missing the truth that lies just beneath the surface. Her voice, while sounding eerily level and calm, has a subtle shrillness to it that is perfect for this role. There is a brilliant moment in which she explains her occupation to a date, shyly admitting, ‘I probably sound a bit obsessive’. Loaded words indeed.
The film is shot in cinemagraphs, each frame being almost still except for one moving aspect looping round and round, luring us into a kind of hypnotic state that goes so well with the themes in the film. The obsessive repetition of Frascona accentuates her own madness… she is trapped in the cycle of her fixation. Each shot looks itself like product placement on an Instagram post. The minimalist style and clean white background that seems to be the go-to when advertising a luxury product or idyllic moment in life.
Culverhouse brings us #eatpretty at a time when these issues are incredibly topical. It’s safe to say that most people in society today are somewhat affected by social media. Whether we avoid it or immerse ourselves within it, whether it’s affect upon us is positive or negative, it is an inescapable part of modern life, and that is why this film will get into people’s heads and stay there. The idea of a compulsion to literally consume the things that are advertised to us is an original and brilliantly spooky idea. There has always been a fixation with the secrets kept by seemingly immaculate people, and this film plays on those topics admirably and expressively.
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