In a small Welsh town, Halloween is coming -- and three of its inhabitants are dealing with a series of crises.
Elin works at a call center, and she's worried about her health -- she's growing hair on her face. Trefor is dead and becoming a ghost, but he's still hung up on paying the gas bill. Cari is a lonely Goth girl who is waiting for the apocalypse to happen.
But as these three lives intersect, they have unexpected connections and influences, changing each of their existences.
Written and directed by Lauren Orme and produced by Amy Morris, this BAFTA-shortlisted animation is about fear and anxiety, capturing the vagaries and travails that plague us, and how the rising anxieties can isolate us from one another.
The visual style is artful and modernist, and in many ways evokes the art of Amedeo Modigliani, especially in the almost surreal elongation of faces and bodies. There is a smoothly textured, paper-like feel to the animation as well as a subtly dark moodiness to the palette, which captures the flatness of affect and emotion in the trio of characters. Each of the three feels profoundly alone as they grapple with their issues, which range from anxiety to low self-confidence to loneliness.
The writing has a sharp eye for the absurdities of modern life, and how these seemingly bumps of red tape and bureaucracy take on added weight when we're already alienated. The narrative pacing is deliberate, preferring to build up character, world and situation, though it raises questions of whether or not the end of the world is nigh -- and just how these characters will encounter one another.
They play marginal roles in each others' lives at first, as voices on the other line or passed by on the street. Their coming together coincides as each confronts deeper truths about themselves -- and come through to an unexpected "other" side.
A production of Ffilm Cymru Wales and BFI Network Wales, "Creepy Pasta Salad" has plenty of dry wit, a wry cheekiness and a striking visual sense, all of which come together to capture something of the alienating absurdity of modernity. But like many fairy tales, it penetrates under the surface of life into the magic and enchantment possible when we fully face our fears -- and realize that in the core of our deepest fears is often the seed of our liberation, if we only trust and accept our abilities to confront and be transformed by them.