Netflix’s “Erax” is a 10-minute, partly animated short film based on a children’s fantasy book about the beast Erax. Nina is a young girl whose father is absent from her life, and she lives with her Aunt Opal and her boyfriend. Her Aunt Opal tries to strike a work-life balance, and Nina, evidently, is never at the top of her priority list.
Erax is a fictional creature who appears in a book and comes to life to expose Aunty Opal’s sins. As a result, she realizes that she needs to be more accountable for her actions than she was previously. The film depicts how certain external factors help us to ponder upon our own actions and, thus, allow us to become better people. In Aunty Opal’s case, she realizes her importance in Nina’s life and thus makes better judgments to create a balance in her personal and professional life.
Nina’s birthday is the starting point for the short film. Aunty Opal arrives late, almost at the end of a 4 p.m. party. She smashed a post while parking her car. Like a book birdhouse, that post has a couple of books kept in it. She takes a large purple book from the birdhouse as a present for Nina. Her partner expresses dissatisfaction upon entering the house and warns her that she cannot continue to miss important moments like these in Nina’s life. Aunty Opal, who is also concerned about the situation, cooks Mac and Cheese as a peace offering to Nina. When she enters Nina’s room, she wishes her the same and hands her the book.
Nina is upset since the person she cares about the most is unable to attend the party. With Aunt Opal’s prodding, Nina decides to open the book. Nina reads aloud from the book, which has a line about Aunt Opal’s absence from the party being extremely impolite and points out that she is a bad aunt. Surprised by such words, Nina hands the book on to Aunt Opal. The creatures in the book have verses made, based on what is going on in the child’s life right now. While keeping the adult in check, the Erax is affected by the child’s emotions and well-being.
Aunt Opal is given an ultimatum by the Erax, but she refuses to accept it, forcing them to emerge from the book as food-hungry creatures. As a result, Nina and Aunt Opal must mend their relationship and put an end to the Erax within the period of the book’s hourglass, thus sending the Erax back to its book and gaining a chance for them both to resume their normal lives.
The short film is an intriguing insight into how a child’s fantasy world remains relevant in her daily life to sustain her. When a child is unsure of how to communicate his or her deepest feelings, he or she will turn to a creature or a fantasy from a book for guidance or an escape. The author succeeds in building a better world for children in general when a fantasy world comes to the rescue of a child.
“Erax” is a strange story that represents a child’s inner desires, implying a bad usage of the plot and easily making for an unsatisfactory viewing experience. The film’s narrative screams for a more innovative outline and richer character backgrounds, but fails to provide and complete the plot. The quality of production for a short film could have been put to far better use, making for a disappointing viewing experience, but it remains relevant.
“Erax” is a 2022 Drama Fantasy short film directed by Hebru Brantley.