Jack Stauber’s latest short-film Opal, available for viewing on YouTube, is probably one of the most unique projects I’ve watched all year.
The project is a 12-minute claymation musical, combining Stauber’s unique blend of psychedelic synth-pop with his equally surreal visual aesthetics to create a unique experience that is both creepy and deeply emotional.
We follow the titular Opal, a young girl whose life seems almost perfect. She has a loving family and seems to want for nothing.
However, there is one catch: her parents warn her that under no circumstances is she allowed to visit the obviously haunted house across the street.
Needless to say, Opal doesn’t listen and one night she sneaks out to go and visit.
Inside the forbidden house she meets another family, although this one is made up of what appears to be the polar opposites of her own.
Where her parents are happy and supporiting, this family appears to be trapped in personal suffering.
There’s the blind old man whose addiction to cigarettes and television is slowly killing him, a man who is so overwhelmed by his own insecurity that he builds an entire room full of mirrors so that he can always watch himself, and a woman who has given up all hope and just loses herself in a mist of drugs and alcohol.
The three characters have their own theme song and these scenes are unsurprisingly the most memoriable parts on the soundtrack.
Of course, many will probably see the ending coming a mile away but that doesn’t necessarily make it hit any less hard when it arrives.
As an artist, Stauber is well-known for the little details he crams into all his work and Opal is no exception.
I’ve rewatched this short film more times than I can count and every time I end up finding more things that I never noticed before.
It’s always a good sign when a film is just as enjoyable after multiple viewings as it was on the first one.