Chibbed Review

Screen Shot 2019-02-13 at 8.30.30 PM
Genre: Tragedy/Drama/Experimental
Year Released: 2018
Distributor: Unlicensed
Origin: Scotland
Running Time: 5 minutes

Rating/Recommended Audience: 17+
Related Films/Series: N/A

For Fans Of: Chibbed is a unique film that isn’t like most other things I’ve seen.
-This film is streaming on Vimeo.

Fun Facts:
-Chibbed was featured on BBC’s iPlayer program.

-Culture Bonus: Chibbed is Scottish slang for cut, slashed, or stabbed. This makes perfect sense given the situation of the unnamed main character.

-This was edited and produced by Mark Fraser who worked on the short film Fine. Aidan O’Mara who directed that film also acts as a co-producer.

I thought it was fair to give the works of Scottish filmmaker Mark Fraser another go with more works that he was involved with. While I wasn’t a huge fan of Fine, I do admit that he had a unique cinematic style to his techniques which I couldn’t ignore. It was also interesting that one project he was involved with got featured on BBC of all things. I know BBC isn’t as big of a deal stateside as opposed to the United Kingdom, but that’s still something worth noting regardless.

Chibbed is about a hooded unknown character who’s walking the streets at night. He has a bloody hand and is looking around for something or someone. This individual runs into some other passersby while refusing their help at best or fighting them at worst. The sounds and sights of sirens close in from time to time. When his hood comes off, it becomes revealed that he’s living life with a smile on his face…or rather it’s half a Glasgow smile that is.

This was certainly a dark short film to watch. There was enough mystery and things open to interpretation that made so many twists and turns. Much like Fine, there wasn’t a lot of dialogue, but what little there was certainly fit the scenes which were nice. It was certainly far from preachy or overt in this particular case. The makeup and visuals were certainly brooding and horrifying. Seeing the unknown protagonist’s face revealed made me cringe once I saw his facial wound on half of his face with that Glasgow smile. For those of you that don’t know what it is, it’s a giant scar that’s right on the cheeks starting from the lips which leaves a bloody-looking “grin” on the victim. You might have seen that form of wounding with Captain Vidal’s comeuppance in Pan’s Labyrinth or more famously, Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight where he has a full Glasgow smile accentuated with the red clown paint on his face. Chibbed certainly gave me the creeps in a good way for this film.

There are elements that didn’t make the cut for me (no pun intended). One thing that I found to be laughable was the scene where the character actually tries to make a call to his family on a local payphone. Why is he doing this in 2018 with the abundance of cell phones? This is outdated on an unintentionally funny level since Maroon 5’s song Payphone which came out earlier this decade and was still just as obsolete. While the mysterious nature works well with his situation, I believe Chibbed gets a bit too mysterious for its own good when it’s unclear how he got the scar or other events that lead to him living like this besides some of the dialogue.

Chibbed was a good and creepy short film that was worth the five minutes spent watching it. There was enough of a mystery to keep me intrigued and it was intriguing how he got to be that way. The dark lighting and minimal soundtrack certainly worked for this film. Unfortunately, the payphone scene and the Delphic nature do inhibit it from getting my highest score though. Chibbed was certainly a good film from Scotland.

Adjustable Point System:

Add 1 point if you like darker experimentation in film.
Subtract 1-3 points if you want your films to be more straightforward.

-Nice cinematography
-Intriguing usage of mysterious plot elements
-Minimalism is used the right way

-The payphone
-Gets too cryptic
-Too short a run time

Final Score: 7/10 points

Content Warning: Chibbed is not for young viewers. There’s blood, violence, very strong language, and the main character has a nasty half-Glasgow smile on his face.

-Curtis Monroe

All photos used under US “Fair Use” laws. Chibbed is property of James Price. The screenshot is from Vimeo and is property of James Price and Mark Fraser.

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