Down

Grim. Down is an animated short film about a hole that gets bigger the more is put into it, and which has a morbid attraction for people.

An analogy for the Covid pandemic, the narration is in the form of emails back and forth between two workers, one of whom was initially sent to assess the hole, and the other who is responsible for escalating any requests to management. In contrast to the otherworldly and inexplicable hole, these emails remain flatly mundane. When the guy on site reports how the hole is not obeying the laws of physics, the office worker responds by telling him to put some cones up.

Their lack of urgency and deadened reactions are mirrored by the behaviour of the general public, who take picnics by the hole’s edge, and generally treat it as something that is livening things up a bit. The ever-increasing numbers of people who are throwing themselves into the pit, never to return, causes the hole to expand until it looks set to engulf the country.

While initially determined to keep others out, if only for the sake of procedural compliance, both workers begin to express a draw towards the pit. The on-site worker becomes convinced he can help stop it if only he can get close enough. The office worker becomes curious for details, expressing a fascination to know what is at the bottom. But the final shot shows us that what is at the bottom is simply a giant mount of the all the dead bodies of the people who have thrown themselves in.

Bleak, it clearly parallels the initial lack of interest by authorities and the lack of seriousness by the public about the Covid threat. The needlessness of all those lives lost and the danger posed to the whole country is emphasised by its stark ending.

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