The short and the short of it: Down to Earth – A fair dinkum Aussie take on Stranger Things

(image via YouTube (c) DUST)

Alex is a typical shy teenager crushing hard on his space obsessed next-door neighbour, Stacey. Despite the elaborate efforts to attract her attention, often with the misguided help of his doofus of a best friend, Eddie, Stacey barely notices him. This all changes when a meteorite crash lands on the outskirts of their small Australian country town. Seeing it an opportunity to get closer to Stacey, Alex proposes the three of them try and find it. Armed with a map, some walkie talkies and, in Eddie’s case, ample snacks, the three venture off into the outback. As the sun sets and with Eddie slowing them down, their chances of finding the meteorite quickly fades, until they stumble across a smoking barn and inside discover something out of this world! (official synopsis courtesy Gizmodo)

Retro mystery adventures are very much IN.

Leading the charge for a nostalgic romp through mysteries, enigmas and riddles is the pop culture juggernaut that is Stranger Things – seasons one, two and three have screened with four on its very much delayed way in 2022 – which has sparked a surge in people wanting stories set in what to many feels like simpler times.

They weren’t, of course, if like me, you lived through them, but nostalgia has a happy of fuzzing the edges and rose-colouring memories so it all seems delightfully better than now.

In the Dust short film, Down to Earth, directed by Nick Crowhurst and written by Stephanie Jaclyn, it soon becomes clear that for all the whimsy and laconic fun of this beautifully put together film which is a pleasure to watch on all kinds of levels, the kids involved – Alex (Sebastien Skubala), Eddie (Liam Daughtry), and Stacey (Kiki Nicholls) – aren’t likely to look back too fondly on the events of their adventure which soon becomes a lot more, well BIG, than any of them imagined.

Down to Earth is charming, funny, tense and highly enjoyable, a brilliantly Aussie take on the idea that things were simpler way back when that suggests maybe they weren’t after all.

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