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DEMO (2023)

Genre: Drama

Studio: Push Start

"In the underworld of skateboard hustlers and drug kingpins, Scott’s luck appears to have run out. He owes money to dangerous people and the clock is ticking. They will take more than their money back if he doesn’t pay up in time. A talented skater, Scott can scrape a few dollars together betting on tricks at the skatepark, but he’ll never make enough with that alone. Seeing his desperation, Andy, mysterious and observant, schemes a high-stakes plan to save her friend."


Demo is fifteen supersized minutes of skateboarding, hustling, crime, and love told through retro VHS static. A typical boy-has-talent, boy-owes-cash, boy-and-girl-try-to-fly deal, Demo is full of road-level camera work, long stares into the New Mexico sun, and has more flares than a JJ Abrams movie.  Writer/director Alejandro Montoya Marín makes the most of his short story. There is a playfulness and honesty to the movie, even one about criminal intent. He also does one better. Marin builds in the desire to see more.  

Scott is a skateboarding dude that owes a serious load of cash-ola to a scary dude for obtuse services. Scott can flip tricks like magic. His girl, Andy, has a few magic tricks of her own, but perhaps ones more violent than fun. And they have a plan. What if they don’t pay the dastardly dude?  

Like all short stories told well – and this is definitely one – Marín rolls into the premise and sets up the conflict, both themes heavy with milage. Working with old school cuts and washing out the visuals in UHF clarity brings a retro-flair for this side of the highway. The narrative’s timelessness brings an element of fantasy to the short.  

Is this all a dream? A magic show? 

Or this is Marin’s Marvel try-out – ahem - demo?  

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