Sun Don’t Shine (2012)

DIRECTOR Amy Seimetz
STARRING Kate Lyn Sheil, Kentucker Audley, Kit Gwinn, AJ Bowen, Mark Reeb
RELEASE DATE April 26, 2013
RUNTIME 82 Minutes
COUNTRY United States

Two increasingly desperate and argumentative people drive the roads of Florida with something — or someone — in the trunk of their car.

If anybody out there finds themselves shuffling through Shudder’s extensive library and you stumble across this rather obscure film; do yourself a favor and watch it. Not exactly a horror movie, but a thriller as the plot tends to fall into the category of a neo-noir. (With a name like “Sun Don’t Shine” it seems even more appropriate to consider it just that.) A prime example of “Florida Glare” with sprinkles of Lynchian surrealism placed on a foundation seemingly inspired by French New Wave. You can be confident that this film delivers a brilliant existential tale set in the deep mugginess of the sunshine state that even strict horror fans can feel.

From the start, the film is engaging with the audience as you are thrown into an obvious unpleasant situation and with little information to understand what the hell is happening. The dialogue carries the film and, until it is finally revealed, serves as some of the only clues to figure out why our main characters, Crystal and Leo, are so paranoid on their “road trip.” The couple travels through an odyssey of obstacles to ensure that they complete their task without exposing a terrible secret.

The dichotomy of the characters of Crystal and Leo develop through the story as it seems Leo has been drawn into his position with a reluctant obligation due to the nature of Crystal’s mental state and the sticky situation at hand. The film leads you to sympathize with Crystal because judging by her paranoia and lack of confidence in herself she is very unstable. It is possible she is on the verge of a mental breakdown as she floats between gleeful memories and lunacy. As the movie progresses she is subject to grim dreams and hallucinations as they get closer to their destination. Crystal’s behavior begins to cause tension with Leo weighing on his ability to keep calm in the dire situation…To be Hopeful? That would just be out of sheer ignorance.

Aesthetically this film has some great visual depicting a paradise of Floridian seaside decay, along with a subtle minimalistic score that accents the strange loneliness of the story, especially during Crystal’s eerie monologues and dream/vision sequences. But Crystal isn’t the only one with problems, Leo has some skeletons too. If you have ever been a resident of Florida you might appreciate this film because it hits so close to home. There’s a lot of secrets around those swamps that most fail to realize. Rest assured this definitely isn’t A Dolphin’s Tale…

This is a short and simple flick that is quick to raise similarities from the works of French philosophers Camus and Sartre, as well a the bleak endings of noir classics like “They Live By Night.” It is undeniable that this film was inspired by some of the great cinema of the 20th century but also creating a unique feature itself. This one will bring you to question the absurdity of our actions and the consequences that follow. Let’s be clear, in no way is this implying that this is the greatest film, but what is so unfortunate is that a solid picture like this will never get the credit it deserves. How’s that for a bleak ending?