A young couple, grieving the loss of their son, end up ordering a cabinet from a strange pop-up ad while browsing the internet. After assembling the cabinet, they awake to find a mysterious creature inside and decide to raise it as their own.
Have you ever bought a cabinet that you didn’t need from a creepy pop-up ad from an even creepier salesmen, only to find a hideous creature inside said cabinet during the night after you built it? No? Good, me neither. I was beginning to think I missed out on something since the only thing I’ve ever gotten from a furniture-in-a-box set is left over parts, and instructions written by some Scandinavian asshole.
“Self-Assembly” is a very strange short film about a young couple who try to recreate their family after the loss of their son, when they find a creature mysteriously inside a cabinet they had built the day before. And when I say very strange, I do mean very strange. Strange yet disturbingly funny as “Self-Assembly” manages to have an incredibly dark sense of humor to it. It’s like a Lovecraft-ian take on a dramatic story about how parents attempt to resolve their grief.
There’s a number of ways you can interpret “Self-Assembly”; a satirical take on a coming-of-age story, or a parody of the wholesome family sitcom from the ‘50s — like “Leave It to Beaver". It’s interesting the different ways you can view the movie when it has such a brief runtime. Whether the movie’s intentions are of one of those variations, I can’t say, but what I can say is that the humor is dark and it is spot on. Actually the humor is so dark that it could qualify as bleak, since it is about a family that’s trying to cope with one of the worst things imaginable for a parent. The movie never mocks that feeling of loss or love in regards to the situation. Instead it finds a unique spin on the concept of a nuclear family by being about parents who raise a disgusting creature as their son, which ends in blood and tragedy.
I hate to use the word perfect, but I believe “Self-Assembly” is one of those perfect short films since it accomplishes everything that it needs to. It’s a comfortable runtime; it doesn’t feel dragged out — which many shorts tend to — and it doesn’t seem like it could have or should have gone on longer. Not to mention, in only 12 minutes, “Self-Assembly” makes itself memorable by capturing such a perfectly dark sense of humor that’s paired with an interesting premise. It’s a satisfying viewing experience that only leaves you with the desire of wanting to see more work from those behind the camera.