The Earth Rejects Him is the second short film by an American director named Jared Skolnick. With a runtime of almost 26 minutes, it is the longest short film I’ve seen so far, and as a consequence I wasn’t sure what to expect. The film has a long time frame to cover, so you would expect a gripping storyline that would engage with the audience almost instantly. Unfortunately I found it incredibly difficult to engage with the story – it was tedious to watch. A shorter runtime may have benefited this film, as some scenes were interesting, whereas others couldn’t have ended soon enough. For example, the opening sequence seemed to drag on for far too long, and I was just hoping it would get better as the narrative progressed. I was rather bored until the final leg of the film, where things finally start to get interesting.
The film is about a boy who discovers a corpse in the woods, then faces ‘unexpected and macabre’ consequences when he tries to bury it. That synopsis really did intrigue me, but I was disappointed by how it turned out. It was far too bizarre for me to enjoy, as I much prefer horror films with a sense of realism. Throughout the film, I found myself asking questions. Usually that’s a good thing, as it creates mystery, but I just couldn’t make sense of the story.
Despite the fact I was disappointed by the overall pace and the storyline itself, I must praise its visual effects and the sheer beauty of the film. The Earth Rejects Him has a particular focus on nature, and I thought all those scenes were filmed beautifully. The visual quality of the film is superb, and especially the close up shots of various nature imagery, which does portray it in a beautiful light. This contrasted incredibly well with the ending of the film, where nature isn’t so beautiful after all. There is minimal gore in The Earth Rejects Him, but the scene where it appears has been done to a high standard. It isn’t excessive, but it can still make you cringe.
Skolnick has cited directors such as Terrence Malick and Guillermo del Toro as inspirations for this film, so if you are a fan of their work, you might enjoy this. But if you’re into gritty realism and fast-paced films, I’d advise you to give this one a miss.
“The Earth Rejects Him” (2011)
Starring: Ellis Gage, Colin Allen and Jacob Moon
Director: Jared Skolnick
Writer: Jared Skolnick