Room 8

The prisoner was told to not touch the match-box. He should have listened.
by James W. Griffiths
6 Min / UK




“Because you might regret it.”

One of the coolest things a short film can leave you with as the credits roll is that you just visited a world with its own rules and complexity, flavor and strangeness and that this world existed before you screen lights up it and will continue to roll on after the film stops. And you got this taste of the world from the smallest slice of it, in a matter of the few minutes you spent watching the film.

A prisoner is taken to to his cell. The guard is Russian, the prisoner sounds like he is English and the time is vaguely post-world war. His cell mate is indifferent to his presence until the man starts to fidget with a big red box kept on the bed. The man warns him not to open it but it’s such an obviously an invitation to do the opposite.

Room8-&-Creation-of-Adam  Some of what happens next will remind people of Christopher Nolan’s excellent first short film Doodlebug and others will be reminded of sketches by Escher and one of the images is I am pretty sure suppose to remind you of the iconic image from Creation of Adam. If you connect the dots to that story, the film opens up like a puzzle box. The other prisoner, like the snake under a tree promises infinite knowledge but leads to punishment and exile. From this strange beginning it moves onto its dark ending with total confidence. Things can always get worse and there will always be smaller cells, an infinite recursion of curiosity and amazement that leads to horrors. But the most disturbing moment of the film is left for the end credits as you hear the sounds of another prisoner being led to the cell, and you realize that this is just room number 8 of a prison block filled with cells.

The CGI is so superbly effective and the film has such an amazing hook of a opening that you will definitely stay with it till the end.

The film is directed  James W Griffiths and was part of a competition by Bombay Sapphire in which all the participants made a short film which began from the same opening lines. Room 8 went on to win the Bafta Award for best Short in 2014.