Review – PIGSKIN Gives A Brief But Chilling Glimpse At The Horrors of Body Image

October 22, 2016

Written by Capt McNeely

Georgia Division ZADF Twitter: @ZADF_ORG



Directed by Jake Hammond

Written by Jake Hammond and Nicola Newton

Starring – Isadora Leiva, Pablo Gonzalez, Isabella Groff, Luke Evans and Julie Moss

Laurie Vernon, at first, second and even third glance, appears to be a normal healthy teenage girl. She’s on the cheerleading squad and seems to be well liked. However she has a secret, one that plagues women from their teens all the way into adulthood – she suffers from a low self body image.

She causes herself to be sick, her stomach is scarred from where she has scratched herself, and she wraps her abdomen with a bandage in an attempt to cinch her stomach. Such insecurity may be brought on by her attraction to the the football team’s starting quarterback – an attraction that is reciprocated when he finally asks her out.

It begins to weigh heavily on her mind, as she considers just how he might view her body if they become physically intimate. As these thoughts consume her, she begins to see a grotesque figure following her. Is it a physical manifestation of her insecurity or an indication she’s descending into madness.

Jake Hammond and Nicola Newton did a great job of creating a very poignant story about a societal horror that is all to real. The pair created this film as their thesis project at Florida State University Film School, as a way to “explore the idea of terrible things disturbing idyllic settings”.

Visually speaking, all aspects of this film looked fantastic.  The lighting, the camera movement, and scene framing  were all beautifully done. And though it has a very 80’s feel to it, there are no period markers to make it indicative on any specific time period.

The performances given were fluid, natural, and even incorporated an appropriate amount of subtlety.  In particular it was the unspoken cues and physical portion of the acting that really spoke volumes without actually requiring one spoken word.

Isadora Leiva was perfect for the role of Laurie. She’s fresh faced and lovely, but also has the range necessary to capture the depth of the character.  She seamlessly makes the transition back and forth between the appearance of being happy go lucky teen to having an obsession with her self perceived physical imperfections.

Pablo Gonzalez as Glenn and Isabella Groff as Trish, share great chemistry with Leiva, lending a great amount of sincerity to their on screen interactions. As for his turn as The Figure, Luke Evans more than adequately accommodated our need for an unsettling presence in the film.

To be totally honest, I had chills as the film was reaching it’s climax…and that doesn’t occur often. Something really has to strike a chord for me to react in such a way.

It’s no surprise whatsoever that this short film has already garnered numerous awards, and it’s likely there will be more after future screenings.

I am truly eager to see what future projects Hammond and Newton may have in store for us, whether working together or seperately. One suggestion I’d like to throw their way would be to create an anthology movie. One that includes stories similar to Pigskin, in an effort to shed more light on this issue that unfortunately plagues so many.

If any of you readers have the chance to view this short film, I hope my rating of 8.5 out of 10 will convince you to do so. For any more information on this film, click on over to to satisfy what curiosities you may have.


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