A girl waking up captive in a basement. Unknown voices echoing in her head, beyond the temporary amnesia she faces. The whole atmosphere is filled with the imminence of a disaster. The premises are very similar to a rather horror film or a “Saw”-like experiment, but the short film ‘EXIT‘ is far from pushing the conventions toward such an (ostentatiously) extreme area. In fact, Moritz Staudte opts for a very realistic register and maybe that’s what makes his project even more impactful. His short film offers us a disturbing experience, whose psychological violence that bursts from the troubled mind of a young woman combines the Gothic atmosphere and the macabre Lynchian oneirism in a captivating manner.


Without tackling, however, a particularly complex narrative stake, which depicts the consequences of a night soaked in alcohol and drugs, the project excels in its piercing and suggestive image and editing. As a consequence, the great ambition of the director is not to force the parameters of a plot as credible as possible or (unfortunately) recurrent, but to render through sound and image the intensity of the emotional shock felt by the victim. In other words, the director creates in this short film a total subjective experience, without opting for a unitary POV convention, building a claustrophobic nightmare that makes the shivers felt by the protagonist cross the screen and invade the viewer. Likewise, Moritz Staudte’s decision to concentrate the entire cinematic matter in the perception of a single character increases the degree of empathy with the viewer who experiences breathlessly this visceral sound-image corpus. Everything takes the form of an alert journey through the sensitivity of a person facing the imminence of a catastrophe driven by a technical professionalism so well-articulated that ‘EXIT’ has totally conquered us through its vibrant cinematography and editing.


For the professionalism with which the editing contributes to an obsessive cinematography and for the vibrant atmosphere that coagulates a terrifying and magnetic cinematic experience, ‘EXIT’ was awarded with the Film of the Month distinction in the December 2020 edition of TMFF.