With new short De-Mente, director Lorenzo Ayuso is in the fortunate position of having an idea that’s bigger than the medium. Slickly made and darkly funny, it succeeds both as an effective short in its own right, and as a convincing pitch of an idea that seems custom built to be adapted to a feature.
Klaus (Sergio Sanchez Shaw) arrives at the home of Genio (Malcolm Sitte) in the late evening looking a little worse for wear. Bathed in the glow of a late-night call-in game show (seemingly hosted by a friend of theirs), Klaus explains the purpose of his visit: since he was a child, he’s been plagued by visions, specifically grimly prophetic visions of the deaths of his associates. Genio is understandably skeptical, but it’s arguable he should be paying more attention, given that Klaus’ latest vision was of Genio himself…
For its first half De-Mente plays out like a solid comedy, owing to some knowingly offbeat direction and enjoyable chemistry between the two leads. When the truth behind Klaus’ visions is revealed, it’s both unexpected and jarring. Ayuso is in possession of a killer idea, and the clear capability for execution to match. Bracing, exciting stuff, this is a chilling, polished short that feels like the introduction to a wider, bolder cinematic universe.