Short Film Review “The Deja Vuers”



First, the Recap:

The ripples of decisions made and experiences encountered. Have we not heard over time the concept that even just one event can act as a stone thrown into a pond, ramifications like waves expanding outward in all directions, impacting everything they touch? But, what happens when the chain of occurrences manifests from one crazy bout with deja vu? It’s a gorgeous day at a local park, and a man, Chuck (Kris Salvi), approaches a bench where a woman sits enjoying some reading. Initially startling her, Chuck starts to explain he’d seen her before in a dream, at the exact spot she’s in, with every nuance and reaction she’s displaying. The woman, Morgan (Christie Devine), is immediately leery of this odd stranger.

Sitting down despite Morgan’s discomfort with him, Chuck continues the dialogue with her about his dream, even as Morgan reveals certain elements from it are turning out to be as he said. As Chuck further aims to convince Morgan they should explore the possibilities of their chance meeting, the awkwardness of it all soon turns to insults and rejection by Morgan towards Chuck, whose more than willing to return the favor.  Things get decidedly more mystifying with the unexpected arrival of an older gentleman, Elias (Craig Capone), who claims to be a relation to Morgan. The situation keeps getting more and more involved, soon becoming a catalyst for everyone’s lives to take unanticipated turns.

Next, my Mind:

Prolific New England-based director/producer/editor Chris Esper continues his streak of intelligent, wryly witty, well-cast, smartly executed short films with this newest 10-minute effort that very astutely explores the idea of deja vu while infusing an additional fantastical element into it. Briskly paced, smooth and crisp visually, plus filled with the kind of guffaws one might associate with a Wes Anderson film (aka really “out there” yet undeniably funny), Esper’s narrative sails along with steadfast determination as it unfolds to reveal its ever-expanding elements into a finale which brings proceedings full circle while leaving plenty of room for conjecture as to what cycle continues beyond that point.

Salvi is a total stitch as Chuck, offering up a totally Average Joe whose obsessed fascination with his deja vu-inspired dream and the events that follow alone is a source of comedy, made even more playfully absurd as he digs himself deeper into a hole when interacting with Morgan. Salvi’s delivery and calm, collected, demeanor as the character is wonderful. Devine’s Morgan is also completely entertaining to observe as she navigates the initial oddness of Chuck’s presence, which then turns into a hesitant acceptance of it, then cascades into humiliation, then back to frustrated annoyance with him, finally equaling out to happiness in how events end up for her. Basically, the acting duo very much clicks for this story.

Additionally, Capone’s appearance as Elias is a total riot in that it’s so out of left field relative to how you might picture the reality of what’s being presented, and Capone takes full advantage to add his character’s very unique perspective to the whole affair. Supporting turns from J.P. Valenti and Adam Miller also bring about quick, but key, factors to the greater tale. In total, “The Deja Vuers”, with its combination of drama, humor, and fantasy, is an excellent addition to Esper’s growing repertoire, and illustrates the fantastic creativity that lives in the awesome universe called independent film. Oh, and never forget your fruit cocktail!

As always, this is all for our consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!




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