I’m not entirely sure what “Fall Out” was aiming for from minute one. All I know is that director Derek Dubois keeps the audience in the dark, providing a narrative that’s about eighty percent ambiguous. And I was okay with that. If you can’t really offer a larger exploration of the world you’ve built, especially considering when it’s set during the apocalypse, the best thing to do is focus on getting us to know the characters in this situation, and director Dubois accomplishes that in spades.
I have my theories about what is happening in “Fall Out,” since director Dubois only provides us with scant details and plot points. All we know is that the world is either over or under siege by some menace, and two brothers have holed up in a fall out shelter. Their space is small, there’s no distractions, and the food is running low. And whatever (or whom ever) is outside is trying to break in. Dubois throws out a lot of exposition that’s thankfully explored through very natural dialogue delivery and strong performances by the cast of Michael LoCicero and William Valles.
They both look very exhausted and emotionally distraught, and there’s only a matter of time before the bubble bursts. Either the menace is getting in, or they have to get out and face it head on. Perhaps the fall out shelter is symbolic of the problems being faced by two brothers in their own world, and now the walls of reality are crashing in. Or perhaps the fall out shelter is for younger brother Billy, who happens to be a horrific downfall of humanity that his older brother is trying to protect.
Director Dubois prominently displays the crucifix behind Billy whenever he stands up in frame, and there’s a great emphases placed on silver. In either regard, “Fall Out” is a wonderful character study and depiction of the family dynamic, and how it breaks down like every social structure once civilization has drawn to a close. The sound design by Kyle Sawaia is incredible, offering brilliant sound effects, restrained use of music, and old fashioned plays on unsettling silence that really help “Fall Out” become a horrific, and tense experience. “Fall Out” is a truly remarkable short film and I look forward to more from director Derek Dubois and the cast in the future.