I had the opportunity to watch Anthony Ladesich’s (Forty-Five: The Search For Soul 2017) short film Safe States for Panic Fest 2020. The film clocks in at about 7 minutes and stars Chris Bylsma (The Kid 2019), Meagan Flynn (Up In The Air 2009) and newcomer Maggie Hutchison.
In a near future Dystopian version of the United States where women’s reproductive rights have been rolled back to a dangerous era. It is dark days as a group of revolutionaries band together to set up an secret social network to escort women to the few remaining Safe States.
I’ve been asked, “Why do you enjoy dark films?” many times over the years. “There is just so much dark in the world. I just don’t understand why people purposely watch these things.” To be fair, I do like happy films as well. But to me, there is something relevant about dark films. The darkness helps put real life scary scenarios in perspective.
Safe States deals with a potentially real life situation. Thankfully, it is not near what is depicted in this film. We can definitely say we are still dealing with women’s rights, in particular, reproductive rights. We have seen this topic rise up again and again.
This film is about 7 minutes and is set in a diner with a group of people finishing lunch. This probably sounds boring, right? Trust me… it’s not boring at all. A single event occurs in that diner that will make you uncomfortable. You can’t help but think, “What if this happens in real life?”
For me, the story behind Safe States is a great example of how the arts can bring meaning and perspective to real life situations, giving them the potential to be scary or even terrifying. This film effectively does just that. Solid performances and film shots make Safe States feel real and uncomfortable, along with the terrifying thought that this could actually happen in society if we aren’t careful. If you get the chance to see Safe States, please do.