TikTok has done it again– giving an indie movie a second birth. TikTokers usually post snippets of a movie, which then trends, thus reviving interest in a film released years ago (case in point: Megan is Missing went viral a decade after its release).
A recent indie short film gaining traction is written and directed by Emil Gallardo and co-written by Derek Ho.
1,2 3, All Eyes On Me has left a sleeplessly lasting impression on TikTok users sharing the movie’s most horrifying scenes. Even the 15-minute span has triggered a unanimous sentiment against a national emergency that has amplified this year.
What could possibly be so concerning in a short film? Let us dissect what it all meant–
1,2,3 All Eyes On Me Movie Explained
Phase 1: One Fine Cheerful Day with Kids at School
The movie starts with a colorful classroom filled with energy, chaos, and chatter. The teacher, Ms. Leena, is a ray of sunshine who matches their energy. And to command the attention of elementary kids, she simply says, “1,2,3 all eyes on me,” to which the students acknowledge, “1,2 all eyes on you.” Thus it establishes a solid dynamic of trust and obedience between the teacher and her students.
Ms. Leena assigns a fun task to the students where each has to draw a kid sitting across them. In a seemingly innocent scene, we see two little girls, where one of them instructs the other on how to pose so she can draw her. But for some reason, I couldn’t shake off the feeling of foreshadowing from a cute friendship moment.
Then, we are slammed back into a conflict between two boys where one does not want to participate with the other. Ms.Leena tries to resolve it, but the boy grudgingly yells that no one in the class likes the other boy. To de-escalate the situation, Ms. Leena pulls him out of the classroom to talk to him alone. And this is where the sense of uneasiness creeps into the viewer.
Phase 2: Unwanted Shadows Lurking In Broad Daylight
They both spot an older boy, seemingly in his teens, acting suspiciously during school hours. Ms. Leena wastes no time calling an authority about the random teen on the school premises. But she gets a rather cold response on the call. As she is walking back to her classroom, she sees an X mark graffitied on the door.
And now, as a viewer, you are pulled into the panic as we slowly discover the possible threat while the alarms go off in full effect.
Phase 3: We, As Viewers, Are Now Part Of This School Day
Now we are back in the classroom. Only the viewers and Ms.Leena know about the danger; the innocent kids are unaware. About 4-5 possible scenarios were running through my mind, but Ms.Leena displayed a calm composure and asked everyone to get down under the desks. She starts pulling down the window blinds but struggles with one malfunctioning window. And though there, the camera pans to the ground, where we now discover that there are two armed guys.
The panic is slowly mounting over her head, but Ms.Leena is determined to protect her class. She pushes her heavy desk towards the door with little helpers carrying the desk together. This scene is gut-wrenching because you want the kids to be safe. But they are still clueless, thinking this is yet another school drill, and don’t take it too seriously. Ms.Leena offers the kids a lollipop to keep them completely silent.
And as a viewer, this is nothing short of a nightmare knowing well enough the realism of their fate when the gunshots go off in the background. The two boys have already begun shooting in the classrooms in the opposite building.
Phase 4: the Kids Have Finally Realized, and Now the Horror Begins
Ms.Leena has to make a quick decision on her next move. They cannot be confined in the class. She again says, “1,2,3 all eyes on me,” and the students obey. But this time, they find it hard to muster courage and get up from underneath the desks. She asks them to trust her one last time.
And here is where your heart sinks…. She asks them to run toward the opposite building, where the shooters have already been. This is quite a risky move considering it’s a class of 20 children. But with my body tensed and behind clenched, the next few minutes brought utmost terror to my veins. Ms.Leena, with fear in her eyes, pleads with the students to close their eyes once they reach the classroom. As an adult, you know what this implies.
As they safely reach the other room, they all close their eyes and sit down. And for the one last time, she again requests, “1,2,3, all eyes on me.” Because she doesn’t want the innocent eyes to witness the aftermath.
Phase 5: One Last Time That Pushes the Viewers Off the Edge
The last few minutes are an absolute nightmare for any guardian. She starts counting her students, and you guess it– it doesn’t add up. Remember the foreshadowing scene about two little girls? Well, one of them was not with them in this hideout. And through only background noises, we know what fate she meets. The trauma hits Ms.Leena and us while the kids are still unaware they lost their friend.
Director Emil Gallardo’s Take On The Movie
Emil Gallardo’s mother was a teacher for decades. He remembers that they would have only earthquake drills during his childhood. No one would have ever thought that America would reach a point where they would need active shooter drills.
He also said that it was a struggle to find consenting parents and kids to participate in this project, considering the severity of the issue.
He also states that they chose not to show the actual act of violence. Instead, they rely on sound design to convey the deed. He said, “It will be very irresponsible for us to make an anti-gun violence film and then expose the kids to violence.”
Should Teachers Be Allowed To Carry Guns In Self Defence?
The entire movie is from the POV of a teacher. She is the one who is exposed to the trauma of witnessing the two guys shooting and is the only one left to take care of her class.
There will be questions about her responsibility; parents will put her under for being their kids’ sole guardian during school hours.
Many teachers in America face the dilemma of protecting the kids or saving themselves first– because the imminent danger and risk are simply too high. However, teachers have proven themselves reliable in almost all gun violence cases. Hence, began the debate of whether they should be allowed to carry guns in self-defense.
While most believe this is the only solution for protection, most experts have suggested that a firearm as a solution for another firearm will only lead to a higher risk of casualties.
The Texas American Federation of Teachers conducted a survey where 76% said they “do not want to be armed or expected to intercept a gunman.” Out of this sample size of 5100 Texans, 4673 were school employees.
Do you think arming school teachers is the right move way forward? What do you think about the movie?
How else would you propose defense against active shooters? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.