A few months back, Brandon Blackburn and Jason Watkins began talking about doing a short film together. They quickly began shooting around ideas and soon found out God had an exact plan. Before they knew it they had come up with a script that seemed a lot less about them “just making a short film” and more like a short film that absolutely had to be made. God had really placed a story on their hearts. Things took off from there. They began reaching out to friends and colleagues to help us pull it off with the resources they could offer on a professional level. Through the grace of God, they have been able to trade work with some very talented people in and out of the film industry to, in turn, help them through their particular skill sets. In a whirlwind, they have some incredibly talented people on board from writers and sound designers to film scoring artists, graphic designers and THE perfect location to film in. They suddenly knew that this project was so much bigger than themselves. God really has a story He wanted to tell through the short film and the directors really believe that with their whole hearts.
When Immerse opens, John Bailey is cuffed to an interrogation table, trapped in a dark, dingy room, and forced to look at his own mugshots– polaroid pictures of all of his sins. “John Bailey: Narcissist,” “John Bailey: Blasphemer,” “John Bailey: Fraud,” etc. While these pictures are sprawled across the table, John is also forced to watch a continuous video of himself drowning. He falls into a pool of water that he can’t fight his way out of, regardless of the constant effort to swim to safety.
Fear, anxiety, and shame weigh heavy on John, and when a devil-like man enters the room and beats him up, all hope seems gone.
Thankfully, a man with nail scars on His hands–Jesus–walks into the interrogation room. He looks John in the face, removes his handcuffs, and leads him out of the room, where the drowning video and sin-labeled pictures are left behind.
Until Jesus steps into the picture, Immerse carries a dark, thriller-like tone. The background music, muted color scheme, and lonely setting create the spiritual mood that most people feel when they are desperate to find a hope outside of themselves. Unlike most films, Immerse has no dialogue. No words are spoken. However, the actors portray their characters and carry the story’s thematic elements so well that words aren’t needed to guide the plot.
Though no other name is defined outside of John’s, it’s understood that the first character who storms into the room and beats John up represents the devil. His eyes are lifeless, he wears dark leather clothes and he sports a sleeve tattoo. In addition to physically harming John, the devil ensures that the video of John drowning is played on repeat, reminding John that he can’t escape his sin-filled fate.
This eerie feel vanishes as soon as Jesus walks into the room. Light fills the space and the video of John drowning turns into a video of John being baptized.
The film’s imagery parallels the Gospel: Christ entered a dark, cruel world where all of humanity was shackled to their sins, without hope, and with no power to save themselves. However, through His goodness, His love, and His power, He freed us from sin and the weight it places on our hearts and minds.
Immerse is inspired by Romans 6:4: “Therefore we have been burned with Him through baptism into death, so as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
Though some of the darker roughhousing from the devil isn’t appropriate for young children, the Scriptural truths within this well-made film can create great conversation for both believers and non-believers. Dove awards this film Dove-approval for Ages 12+.
The Dove Take:
Though not a word is spoken, the setting, music, and character sketches in this short film create a powerful redemption story suitable for teens and adults.