A family’s peaceful day of picnics and hikes in the woods is interrupted when they stumble upon two puddles that will test the strength of their bond, in writer/director Timothy Keeling’s dark-comedy short, aptly named Two Puddles. A surreal short with dashes of horror, this hugely entertaining film takes a simple yet extremely original idea and transforms it into a punchy six-minute watch with the help of an imposing score, lively editing and real-life grave diggers.
Featuring one of the most original screenplays I have seen of late, Two Puddles was inspired by physical comedy. Playing around with the image of someone splashing into a puddle, only to realize it is much deeper than expected, Keeling turned this idea into a modern fable. With minimum dialogue, the film builds characters, their relationships and an arc quite successfully. And the fact that we can’t quite figure out the tone of the film – drama, comedy, fantasy, horror – is also a big part of the experience.
Two Puddles is a film that wastes no time. It’s six minute run-time employs a frantic pace, which not only acts to heighten the comedic impact of the piece, but also grab the audience’s attention early on. The ridiculous idea behind the short, soon becomes compelling due to the outstanding production values and gripping performances. With so little dialogue, the three main actors communicate all the confusion and fear of their surreal situation, all of which helps in assisting its audience in the important task of suspending belief.
With the soundtrack to Two Puddles essential in its success, Keeling and composer Benjamin Squires spent a long time in post-production working to ensure the score informed the shape of the story. At first the music feels as if it’s just there to set the atmosphere and help build the rhythm of the film, but as the narrative progresses it occupies a bigger space, contributing heavily to the entertaining aspect of the film and almost becoming a character of its own.
Two Puddles had its world premiere at the 2018 Palm Springs ShortFest and went on to have a successful festival career with selections at Encounters, Short Shorts and Mill Valley to name a few. Keeling is a multi-talented artist and we can’t wait to see where his distinct sense of humor will take him next.