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Horror Short Film Review: ‘The Earth Rejects Him’
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The Earth Rejects HimThe Earth Rejects Him
Directed by Jared Skolnick
Written by Jared Skolnick
Starring Ellis Gage, Colin Allen and Jacob Moon
Dead Henchmen Productions
Released 2011

The Earth Rejects Him is a chilling short film written and directed by Jared Skolnick about a young boy who discovers a corpse while biking in the woods, “then faces unexpected and macabre consequences when he tries to bury it.” Influenced by the films of Werner Herzog, Terrence Malick, and Guillermo del Toro and the short stories of H.P. Lovecraft, Skolnick shows us the sinister side of a sunny day in a lush forest when a young boy takes a tumble off his bike over a small cliff and lands in a tangle of fallen leaves.

When he comes to, the boy sees a skull and part of a skeleton half buried in the earth. He snags a tooth from the skull’s mouth and hides it in his pocket. After he and his two friends swear to the police they haven’t touched a thing, the boys quietly walk their bikes home. The boy shows the others the tooth he’s taken and at their urging, buries it in a field.

Haunted by the event, the boy goes out to the field the next day and checks the spot where he’s buried the tooth. What he finds growing there will shock and horrify you. From there, the film takes on a surreal quality. What seems bizarre at first is quickly accepted as normal, and what follows that is absolutely terrifying.

If you watch the teaser trailer below, you might be tempted to compare The Earth Rejects Him with the opening to the movie Blue Velvet, where Jeffrey Beaumont (played by a young Kyle MacLachlan) finds a severed ear in a weeded lot. But don’t. The Earth Rejects Him goes a lot deeper than the trailer suggests and shows us the shenanigans that really go on in the forest at night. Without spoiling it too much, I will say these words: gnarly-toothed night creatures. That is all.

Okay, here’s more. The boy is at a transitory age, around 12 years old, so one could easily see The Earth Rejects Him as a metaphor for the death of childhood and rebirth into adolescence. The young boy’s sudden interest is plant growth might be Skolnick’s way of showing us the boy embracing this exciting new phase of life. Perhaps the night creatures represent the scary unknown of burgeoning adulthood.

Even if you’re not keen on psychological interpretations, this little horror gem will spook you down into your soul. Beautifully shot in HD, The Earth Rejects Him is vivid, crisp, and arresting. It will haunt you even on a bright sunny day.

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