728. The Hangnail – Shane Acker

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SUMMARY: A man dispatches a dog begging for his corn chips with a cruel slap. But when he discovers a hangnail on his index finger, the dog wreaks a terrible revenge.

WHY IT’S HERE: American director Shane Acker’s debut short ‘The Hangnail’ is one of the most joyously grotesque, wince-inducing two minutes of animation you’ll ever see. Acker, who would go on to work with more sophisticated computer animation, here works with charmingly simple hand-drawn cartoons of a man and a dog. The short follows a simple narrative pattern: set up a bully and a victim and then swoop in immediately for the comeuppance. In this case, the comeuppance is so horrendously violent and yet so fantastically hilarious that the viewer can’t help but smile even as they cringe. The first time I saw ‘The Hangnail’ I was so shocked that I instantly watched it a second time. It’s an absolute blast and a great early student film for a man who would quickly become a major animation talent.

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