Hair of the Dog (2017)
A man dives deep into the dark world of alcoholism and domestic violence and learns the hard way that karma has no menu when he is served what he deserves.
Glenn Turney, Sheri Davis, Kenzie Pallone, Todd Terry
Sometimes a drunken wife-beater is scarier than a matinee monster dragged from the bowels of pop myth. Sometimes people live with monsters, and they prefer the top of the bed rather than under it. The short film Hair of the Dog, from director Sheri Davis and writer Jason Marsiglia, offers a bleak view of an alcoholic named John, (played by Glenn Turney). Structured through a series of flashbacks, each more violent than the last, we follow John through the loss of his job and loss of his marriage. He is doomed by his drinking, doomed by his anger, and ultimately doomed. But why spoil all the fun?
Is this a worthwhile fifteen minutes of your time? Oh, certainly. The cinematography offers inky blacks, moody shadows, which seem to cling to John like a damned spot he can’t get out. The performances from Glenn Turney and director Sheri Davis, playing his long suffering spouse Crystal, are both intense and believable. Child actor Kenzie Pallone, playing their daughter Eve, commits wholeheartedly to her tears. The flatness of Pallone’s voice, however, doesn’t quite draw you fully into her pain. She comes off a bit stagey, but only just. The soundtrack has a few odd pops and white noise quirks, which is perfectly acceptable for an indie short. These are minor quibbles.
Hair of the Dog might sit more comfortably in the drama wheelhouse, but rest assured there is enough bloody gore at the end to satiate. But I won’t spoil that milk. The scene where John’s boss Dale, (Todd Terry), gives him the boot is impactful, but it goes on longer than it really should. It’s a heavy-lifting backstory scene, revealing many of John’s past sins. Necessary, but repetitive. For the sheer audacity of Sheri Davis’s visual tone, something akin to Neo-Southern Gothic, Hair of the Dog is memorable.
Full confession: both of my grandfathers were alcoholics. My mother was stripped away from her old man when she was a girl, in a scene not too different from the one in this film. She still cries whenever she thinks about it, even in her mid-sixties. Some wounds cut deeper than vampire fangs. Some “family curses” don’t come from gypsies; you can buy them at the store. Hair of the Dog is currently making its way through the film festival circuit, and will hopefully be coming our way on streaming platforms like Vimeo very soon.