Laura Jayne Hodkin’s graduation film from the Royal College of Art is a brightly coloured dark comedy that builds on her already impressive student work. The illustration style and colour palette from 2017’s Nailbiter have been refined, the freewheeling freakiness of that film toned down a bit for the sake of the storytelling. Haley and Joanna added a densely packed script to the mix while still keeping a loose feel, the constant visual invention keeping the film from getting bogged down in dialogue.
Hot and Tasty keeps the raunchy, half-drunk dialogue that made Haley and Joanna such a joy—if it wasn’t for the change in accents, you’d probably assume this was another story with the same characters. This time, though, that soused-up conversation is set inside what would be a horrifying situation, if the characters were sober enough to realize what was going on. It’s a perfect pairing—two characters who are too drunk and self-absorbed to see what’s right in front of them, and two more who are completely incapable of concealing what they’re up to.
At the risk of sounding like a crazy person, I’ll just say it: Birds are inherently suspicious. Something in their jerky movements and beady eyes just makes it seem like they’re up to something. It’s not necessarily that they’re plotting against us in particular (although lord knows we’ve given them plenty of reason to). But it does make them well suited to the sort of unconvincing nonchalance that Hot and Tasty demands of them.
It’s been a treat watching Hodkin’s style evolve from short to short, and her first post-student animation, a music video for The Magic Gang, shows she can do unbridled joy just as well as she does offbeat dialogue and surreal humour. Whatever comes next, we already know it’ll be worth watching.
Hot and Tasty
dir: Laura Jayne Hodkin
syn: Two drunk friends accidentally walk into a crime scene.
Bonus: It’s Nice That had a nice write-up on the film back in 2019.