I shall be digging deep into Souls of Totality, preying over its images and seeing if its plot is holey to determine if it’s a mate or baptism of fire. So watch the video before I spoil more than your appetite!
00:16 A young woman with short hair (Tatiana Maslany as Lady 18) and a bearded man (Tom Cullen as Guy 3) are lying beside each other in what looks to be a Fruit of the Loom advert. He mentions something about drums scaring away the darkness so the eclipse will end. As the screen is black, the drums seem beat.[N.B. Either drums are an important image for the rest of the short or I’m a lot worse at this than we think.]
Lady 18: White guys with dreadlocks… Period cramps…
A list of things that freaked her out at puberty? That freeze her vagina? Things she wants for Xmas?
00:42 None of the above. She’s talking about things she won’t miss when she goes, and she doesn’t mean #1 or #2.
00:48 The list continues:
- Ear pimples
- Shovelling pig shit
- The word ‘Solarfest’
- Guy 9’s dad jokes
- My parents
- Necco wafers
Which one of these would you be happiest to leave behind? Is there anything you can think of that you hate more? Leave a comment below!
02:08 I’m only putting this here in case it becomes important later on. The bloke has a sore shoulder and mentions it’s from a sign. Apparently, it was a pretty bad sign.
02:12 They’re saying goodbye to the bus. The bus is probably just happy that they got off.
03:48 While in a nearby house, the couple stop dead in their tracks when they see an audio cassette in a plastic baggie taped to the wall. I think they’re just upset that they don’t have anything with which to play it.[🐣 Easter egg: The symbol closely resembles a tilted version of the Native American Zia tribe symbol for the sun, which is prominent on the New Mexico State Flag.]
04:17 Guy 3 walks around the garden, and there are a mush of people dressed as he is, white t-shirt and grey sweats. He’s taking their drink orders like Jim Jones at a Kool-aid stand.
Guy 3: What do you want?
Guy crushing pills with a rolling pin (maybe Joseph Ollman as Guy 13): Can you get me some whip-its?
Guy 3: Uhm, I don’t think so.
Guy 13: Just a Diet Coke, then.
Guy 3: You want a regular Coke? You know, considering…
You see why I think they’re ordering one for the road? (And by ‘road’ I mean ‘highway to hell’.)
05:41 Three cult members are talking about how Lady 18 has been chosen for some special mission and about how it sucks for her and how she’s hardcore. All the cult members are dressed in grey sweats and white t-shirts… Ah, group sects.
07:12 In an automobile at the back of a dark barn, Lady 18 listens to the cassette, which explains she’s been chosen to stay behind and shepherd the next ‘family of souls’. This makes her cry, maybe because she thought the cassette was going to be a mix tape and not a nix tape.
08:08 Before the end of the world hits the fan, Lady 18 and Guy 3 are instructed to bike ride into town together to do Guy 3’s shopping. Apparently he can’t go buy himself.
08:41 Well, it’s not a planetary apocalypse. At the local petrol station where the duo do their shopping, calm and relaxed people are preparing for an upcoming solar eclipse. It seems that soon the cultists won’t be the only people who are dim.
Enough with the fucking drumming!
Lady 18 can hear what you and I assumed was the background music, because the only drums inside the shop are in her ears.[N.B. Remember way back to 00:16? The fact that she hears the drums means that there is a force in the universe trying to eliminate the darkness, as that’s what was said the drums did. Here the drums are attempting to alleviate the darkness of her leaving her friend behind.]
10:42 While returning from their shopping spree, Lady 18 is visibly upset.
Guy 3: Tell me what I can do. What can I do? Tell me.
Lady 18: I just…
Guy 3: What?
“I just wanna dance with somebody,” is what she probably for sure was going to say.
12:58 While the sect sit outside placing coloured plugs in their ears, Lady 18 reluctantly drives away, listening to the cassette. A reedy voice explains that the eclipse is like a key and a lock aligning to open a door to another plane of existence. Lol, they may not be on the right plane, but they’re certainly high.[N.B. As there’s no medical reason explaining that earplugs aid in suicide, my conclusion is that the cult has to wear them to drown out the sound of the drums which would dispel the darkness and discourage them from going through with the act.]
13:18 Meanwhile, the fanatics are sucking down the killer cocktail. The first question that comes to mind is, “What’s your poison?”
13:42 While she’s driving away, the monologue on the tape says,
The universe is always talking to you. You just have to make sure you’re listening.
At that moment, Lady 18 must slam on the brakes to avoid the very large heifer blocking the road. I think the universe is saying, “Holy cow!”[N.B. At the precise moment she sees the cow and hears the voice on the tape say ‘make sure you’re listening’, the drum beat starts again. It’s removing the darkness so she can see she needs to go back and rescue her friend.]
14:41 Evidently what Lady 18 heard was, “You stupid cow,” because she leaps out of the car and runs the mile back to the cult house, when she could’ve just turned the car around and driven back. WTF!? “I think my significant other might be killing himself right now, so I’ll jump out of the vehicle that could get me there faster and run back on foot.” At this point we need to ask ourselves how much she really wants to stop him.
15:46 Lady 18 arrives back at the ranch during the eclipse but she’s too late because she didn’t drive there. Maybe there’s some of the poison left, it’s the best remedy for stupid.
16:30 As she’s peeling back the covers to find her dead friend, a hand grasps her wrist! His voice muffled by the earplugs [see 12:58] he asks,
Guy 3: What were you gonna say?
Lady 18: Stay…
And the eclipse passes and everything is bright and sunny as they kiss. I still wish he’d have asked her why she didn’t drive back to the ranch.[N.B. His actual question is reference to their conversation at 10:42.]
17:48 Surprise ending! Just as the camera pulls back from the scene, we notice the sheets around them are flat on the ground. The bodies beneath them are no longer there. Just in case we missed this, a breeze comes along and blows the loose sheets around. What does this mean? That the cult was right and the members of the sect did disappear into another plane during the eclipse. More importantly, it means that they’re not crazy, I am.
WTF!?s: 1 totally soulful one
Where’s This Found: This is my first DUST viewing and I have to say, I was very impressed with the quality. Being mostly familiar with no-budget indie shorts, the level of professionalism here is on a par with many modern television shows. Both the theme and the quality are reminiscent of mini Black Mirror episodes, and I look forward to catching more shorts on their YouTube channel.
What To Feedback: Take another look at the list at 00:27 an 00:48. Which of those items would you be gladdest to leave behind when boarding a higher plane? Is there something else you hate more? Let us know in the comments!