20 minute short Fuck Buddies opens pretty innocuously. Ellie (Sharon Belle) and Joseph (Alexander Plouffe) seem, on first impression, to be in the very early stages of a relationship: that dizzying, delirious honeymoon period where you can’t keep your hands off each other. The slightest thing (in this case, burnt eggs, Pachelbel’s Canon and running out of mouthwash) seems to set them off, and it’s only after a few minutes of scene setting that we discover that they are, in fact, flatmates who are having a casual sexual relationship. The clue was in the title, I suppose.
The opening gives off a slick, indie sex-comedy vibe: the polished, rapid-fire montage of the protagonists’ various mundane sex “triggers” and the boundless ferocity with which they go at it both draw big laughs. The film makes one of its many deft, abrupt tonal shifts when they discover a mysterious box of photographs in their flat depicting their hypothetical future as a couple, and after an unfortunate incident one evening, Ellie ends the ‘arrangement’ with Joseph. It’s at this point that Fuck Buddies gear-shifts into real nightmare territory, and director Nate Wilson starts to really show some flair.
The “triggers” presented so comedically early on begin to manifest themselves again, this time under much darker circumstances. It seems like a supernatural, intangible force is manipulating the pair into maintaining their relationship, and as the film ventures unapologetically into darker and darker terrain, Fuck Buddies becomes a darkly rewarding, richly metaphorical examination of the consequences of sex and the damaging, wild unpredictability of human emotion.
To say any more would be to spoil proceedings, but this is a genuinely intriguing piece of work that, excluding one over-reach into slapstick gross-out territory, maintains a powerful command of its tone, and brings laughs, contemplation and squirm-inducing visuals in equal measure. It’s most definitely not for everyone, but if you’re feeling adventurous, it might be for you.
You can watch Nate Wilson’s ‘Fuck Buddies’ here. Contains sexual content, some violence and disturbing imagery.