Title: Family Vacation

Also known as:

Year: 2007

Genre: Short / Mockumentary / Thriller

Language: English

Runtime: 9 min

Director: Brian Hirschbine

Writer: Brian Hirschbine

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1458624/

Family vacations are all about spending time with each other, and having fun. This trip out in the woods offers no such thing when the father neglects his son to spend some private time with his girlfriend. And the son is sick of it.

Our thoughts:
I haven't given Brian Hirschbine's films great reviews in the past, but I have always been a fan of what he does. He simply does his thing and fuck what people think. What he has done with his company Abortion Bin Productions is commendable, and I like him even more since he wasn't showing any signs of hate from my reviews. His films "Black Ice" and "TapeWorm" both remind me of Eric Stanze's "Ice From the Sun", only much more entertaining and appealing. Their biggest issue was the length, and that's why I am so pleased to get the chance to watch one of Brian's scaled down short films. This is a film that was made in 2007 as a fan submission for the upcoming "August Underground" box set, but since no box has been released, this film hasn't seen the light of day either.

Because it's a tribute to "August Underground", it's not hard to figure out that it will feature either torture, snuff, handheld cameras, or something along the lines of that. And that's basicly the hook with this short film, that it's a mockumentary. What makes it interesting is that it's from the point of view of a kid. The kid, his dad and his girlfriend are out camping in the woods, but the father neglects his son. All he wants to do is screw his girlfriend. The kid, who is borderline bullied by his own father, snaps and happens to catch it all on tape.

It's quick and to the point, as expected. You can figure out kinda what is going to happen, but that's fine. Brian made this to pay tribute to a film he respects and I think he could've easily fallen into just making a poorly made torture film. Instead he made a film that is actually quite powerful at times, with a kid in the lead role who seems to actually be able to act (the little screentime he has).

There are some decisions made in the production of the film that I'm not sure I understand or liked all that much, mostly the camera movements. When the camera is put down it still seems like someone is holding it up (and I think I heard someone breathing behind the camera). This is as far as I can go with criticism on this one because it is what it is. Some films are, and short films especially are allowed to have their flaws here and there.

Everything else in the film just works and I think it's a solid tribute that I hope to see on the future box set (if it ever comes out). I know Brian's genre of choice is gory experimental films, which I enjoy, but after seeing this I would like to see him tackle something more subtle!

Positive things:
- Good acting from the kid.
- Using a child in the lead role made it a lot more powerful.
- A good tribute to "August Underground".
Negative things:
- Some of the camera work.

Gore: 1.5/5
Nudity: 0/5
Story: 2.5/5
Effects: 3/5
Comedy: 0/5

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