Knives is a short film where a coming-of-age story collides with a serial killer thriller. The entire film has a hazy nostalgia to it of something remembered, a life changing event seen from a place of safety and hindsight. The colors of the film, the music that reminds you of an 80's grind-house film and the story itself of a paranoid teenager trying to convince everyone around him that he has spotted a murderous predator trigger memories of movies seen when you were the same age as Ryan.
Ryan's journey is of any teenager, realizing that the certainty of his world is fragile and there are things happening beneath the surface that can only perceived by putting your ear to the floor. Boredom and a frustrated sense of superiority leads him to pick apart any shopper that walks into the super-market he works at. When he connects the knife-sharpner who works in their parking lot with a series of murders in his town, it almost seems like a great distraction from his dull job.
But in one of the film's great strengths, it remains with his POV, his sense of paranoia and then increasing certainty that he has seen something and knows something no one else does. He isn't interested in his cute co-worker who hangs onto every word he says, he spend most of the time exchanging glowering stares with a suspected murderer. The scenes between the knife-sharper and Ryan are very tense and creepy, but like the strongest movies and stories in the same vein, there is a psychic link between the murderer and the teenager, some connection and mirroring. And when his truck finally disappears at the end of the film, there is almost a sense that it's the end of summer romance.
Knives is a very well made film. Shot on 35 mm, it carries its technical skill and confidence without any showiness or strain. The actors and casting is perfect and it's a film that will stay with you.
Aaron, the director and co-writer of the film, speaks about the film in detail here.