Silvermine Productions, 2022
📷 : Used with permission, Alex Morsanutto
Movies and TV shows that make you laugh, or involve urgency, like chase scenes or other physical activity
Movies and TV shows about illness or set in hospitals or similar medical institutions
Operation: Cavity is a comedy about four friends who devise a scheme to get revenge on their dentist for the years of filled cavities, pulled teeth, and awkward x-rays. It is a short, hilarious film that packs a big punch, with multiple settings and bright aesthetics that bring back memories of childhood films like The Sandlot, The Bad News Bears, and Mighty Ducks. The exquisite cinematography and continual movement of the story time-travels us to the days when we were 10 and 11 years old: loyal to our friends and doing goofy stuff like challenging people—knowing we would get our butts kicked.
Indeed, the inciting event of Operation: Cavity occurs when Douglas, played by Jonathan O’Reilly, gets clobbered while standing up for his friend Timmy, played by Declan Foley. Doug’s subsequent visit to the dentist brilliantly presents the experience from his vantage point, with bright lights, whizzing tools, and intimidating instruments—and care providers. Something so necessary appears nonetheless quite daunting, if not traumatic, through Doug’s eyes. As far as he and his friends are concerned, the dentist exists to inflict pain.
Realizing what a visit to a medical provider looks and feels like from a child’s point of view may take some audience members aback. The experience is quite scary, and the procedures are seen as assaultive rather than caring acts. They are traumatizing rather than calming. And dental work amounts to punishment for a crime they didn’t commit. This is sure to motivate adults to consider ways to mitigate children’s anxieties around what they see as “the dreaded visit to the dentist,” with more comforting words offered by providers, perhaps. Permitting parents/guardians into the room for procedures and allowing children headphones so they can listen to the music of their choice may also help.
Made as a proof of concept for a young adult TV series, director Alex Morsanutto's short film conveys strong themes about what friendship means to pre-adolescents and the importance of appreciating experiences from a child’s perspective. The fact that the cast is age-, gender-, and racially-diverse adds an inclusive element to this relatable work of art.