Ennio Ruschetti—who is perhaps best known as serving in the Art Department for Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth (2015)—has been directing his own short films during the past few years, one of his most recent being Hand in Hand. His own flair for interesting stories is on full display in this horror-comedy.

Just as Luis Buñuel explores the implausibility of leaving a room in The Exterminating Angel (1962), Ruschetti capitalizes on the equally bizarre instance of politicians being unable to stop shaking hands.

The action takes place at a bill signing. Two rival politicians (Urs-Peter Wolters and Jürg Bünzli) appear onstage while the press covers the event. As they go to shake hands, the two men still try to feed their egos by trying to show dominance. However, they find their hands inseparable. The problem quickly escalates and everyone present finds themselves in the crossfire.

Their only hope: the janitor (Jürg Plüss) witnessing the event from offstage. His transition from passive observer to full-fledged hero recalls the loveable hero Ashley Williams from Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy.

The film would be sadly flat if it didn’t have the quintessential sense of Italian humor to spice up the proceedings. From a visual gag of a two-human pretzel knot to the hilariously campy post-danger celebration (where the janitor becomes a national hero and is commemorated with a bronze statue), the film soars to even more enjoyable heights. The balance of campy humor and terror is well-executed, creating a cartoonish atmosphere that is most welcome. Overall, Hand in Hand is a pleasant surprise of a film. A must-watch, the short is an enjoyable four minutes to spend if anyone needs a good laugh. It makes a person wonder what projects Ruschetti will release in the near future. Hopefully, they will be as inventive as this one.

Thanks to SXSW and Mailchimp you can watch HAND IN HAND here.

Rating: 10 out of 10 stars