The Deja Vuers (2016): It’s About Time (Review)

The_Deja_Vuers

Written by Jason K. Allen and directed by Chris Esper, who also produced the short comedy film, The Deja Vuers is a slice of comedy that feels inspired by The Twilight Zone and is presented with a surreal bit of comedic timing that is oddly satisfying. 

A woman on a park bench, eating a sandwich, is approached by a sloppily dressed and coiffed man who has a “Bill Murray” thing going on.  He tells the sandwich eater that he dreamed about her the night before.

The two talk, he introduces himself as Chuck (Kris Salvi) and her name is Morgan (Christie Devine). He explains his dream and tells Morgan that the only thing different about this “deja vu” incident is her name. (In the dream it was Lulu.)

As the couple talk about what they dislike about one another, more characters drop by. A man from Morgan’s past and another from a dream she had.

Allen and Esper have taken a simple enough premise and spiced it up with a few threads that lead us in other directions. It is funny, clever and each element dovetails nicely to give the eight minute film an amusing ending.

Chris Esper always delivers films that look stunning. In this instance cinematographer Evan Schneider frames each shot perfectly and makes the most of the natural setting. The lighting is quite impressive as shown in the scene where Elias arrives, all brightly lit and nearly jumping off the screen.

The story itself, which could be said to revolve around fruit salad and a slight misunderstanding, is funny and slightly complex.  As things move along, and both Morgan and Chuck realize that, despite his dreaming of Morgan the night before, they have no chemistry whatsoever.

Salvi, with his almost “Murray-ish” approach to the stranger on the bench, is brilliant.  His technique, which is a combination of being self effacing and insulting, is truly funny and the end result comes as no real surprise.

Later, we learn who “Lulu” really is and the film, after its conclusion, gives us another riff on deja vu and time travel. Chris and Allen have managed to cram quite a lot of business into a eight minute time frame and, more importantly, managed to tie all the loose ends together brilliantly.

The fact that the film ends on an unexpected note, or two, adds to the fun. It is not quite an “O. Henry” twist but it is close enough. The Deja Vuers has almost the perfect combination of storytelling and comedic twists.

This is nigh-on perfect and because of this the film earns a solid 4.5 stars. It is clever and provides the viewer with an interesting take on not one but two gags rolled together. These types of movies are what the short film was invented for; quick, funny and clever, this one is a definite winner.

Here is a trailer to the short film. Watch it and see what you think of the subject matter  and the comedy on offer.

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Author: Michael Knox-Smith

World traveler, writer, actor, journalist. Cinephile who reviews films, television, books and interviews professionals in the industry. Member Nevada Film Critics Society

2 thoughts on “The Deja Vuers (2016): It’s About Time (Review)”

    1. Welcome to the world of the short film. It is currently, I think, headed to the festival circuit. As a rule, unless the filmmaker says otherwise, that is the first step. I’ve had no information as to which festivals it may be headed to. I’ll check with Chris to see where the general public can see the full film. 🙂

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