Directed by: Marshall Malone
Starring: Rob Moccio, Jeremy Smith, Pauleen Conde and Jaron Wallace
Short Film Review by: Annie Vincent
Mockumentaries are great- why aren’t there more mockumentaries? In Real Reality: Life Inside the Discomfort Zone, Marshall Malone invites us into Steve Stevenson’s (yes, the silly little repetitions continue in other parts of the film) world – a place so dark after the events of 2016 that he has retreated into his VR headset: permanently.
This is an enjoyable short. At just ten minutes long, I think audiences will be left a little sad that there isn’t more, but what we do get is highly amusing. Steve just cannot get over the trauma of 2016, and who can blame him with all of its celebrity deaths, with the Trump v Clinton presidential campaign and the Ghostbusters sequel? He has taken to wearing his VR headset permanently and now become ‘president of his own world, completely engrossed in this alternate reality. His best friend, flatmate, workmate, soulmate, Michael Gordon, is increasingly worried, though he only realised there was a problem when Steve starting wearing the headset permanently (sometimes the clichés are still funny). Steve barely talks to anybody, hasn’t had sex in three years and is walloped daily by Aaron Lawless, the technophobe neighbour with an abhorrence of the VR goggle and a view that escapism is best achieved through drug abuse. In a bid to help him, Michael sets Steve up on a dating website, but despite getting a good match, it doesn’t do the trick. Eventually, when Steve puts a 2015 calendar up on the wall, Michael feels enough is enough and he finally gets to the bottom of it all.
In true mockumentary style, there are some amusing slapstick moments and all the stereotypical comments, charicatures and structures of a real documentary are played with. The delivery is subtle throughout without any expectant pauses so it is worth watching through more than once to pick up on all the little references. The acting is good, the composition and filming professional and the film has already picked up its first award. Let’s hope there is more to come from the Real Reality series.