Tito (Grace Glowicki) is on the run, his only protection a red plastic whistle.
He is pursued by unseen snarling predators down a dark street in a world empty of other people. In his hand he clutches a box of cereal.
Thus begins Tito, a strangely endearing, oddball psychological horror/comedy with a cast of exactly two actors, much of which happens without dialogue and with an ambiguous, ominous soundtrack reminiscent of Dario Argento’s Suspiria and occasionally David Lynch’s Eraserhead.
Tito seems alone in a possibly post-apocalyptic world. Mundane tasks like shopping happen in isolation, punctuated by menacing growls and snarls that send him running, using his whistle when cornered to repel the off-screen predators.
Other sounds populate Tito’s life, including a sort of peristaltic grumbling that could mean anything from monsters to bizarre soundtrack choices to irritable bowel syndrome. Tito eats like a cornered animal and vomits parti-colored children’s cereal on the floor. At night, he fends off the monstrous dangers with that same red whistle. In his dreams he contorts and gags in Butoh-esque convulsions.
All of this seems routine. This is life now. It is unclear how much of this is real, and it soon begins to feel like an unsubtle metaphor for isolation due to mental illness.
It all changes when an unnamed friendly neighbor (Ben Petrie) invades his home to make breakfast. The neighbor is Tito’s polar opposite. Where Tito cowers in darkness, the neighbor effuses in colors. Where Tito is silent, the neighbor chatters and prattles, calling Tito “brother” and smoking some killer weed: a manic pixie dream stoner.
It soon becomes apparent that the neighbor is not limited in supplies, as there is a never-ending flow of marijuana and breakfast foods. It is apparent the neighbor’s world is not as empty as Tito’s, and he views Tito as a potential friend right away.
Hanging out with the neighbor brightens Tito’s world, and soon we see people in their world, passing cars, people on the sidewalk in the background. The neighbor is pulling Tito into his world. There is a bit of a Benny and Joon vibe going on here.
That’s the first half of the film. All seems bright and rosy, and there are flowers and birds. But there are seeds of doubt: is the neighbor really a perfect example to emulate?
The sound is definitely a character in this film. It is often hard to tell if it is supposed to be ominous or humorous, whether the sounds are from the world or added for effect. In the breakfast feast scene, the sound seems to imply the croissants are dangerous.
Plink plonk strum! Plink plonk strum! Plink plonk strum!
This film, which was funded by Kickstarter campaign, looked like it was fun to make, and one gets the idea that the two characters are just the personalities of the actors ramped up, an introverted, goth loner and a garrulous stoner. Grace did sound editing, editing, produced, directed, starred and wrote. Possibly catered.