Two photographs are displayed upright, each in separate frames. They appear to be displayed inside, most likely in a house, since there is no evidence of sunlight and a soft glare is obscuring the picture on the right, presumably cast by a lamp. The picture on the left shows a young Caucasian boy smiling, dressed in fashionable black and white clothing. He appears to be between three and four years old. It looks as if this is a professionally done portrait, one that parents typically have taken of their children at various stages of life. The picture on the right shows a young boy in a yellow shirt, which appears to be some kind of sports jersey. This may be a portrait of the boy taken as part of a picture for a team. The face of the boy is obscured in this photo by the light source, so it is unclear if the two photos are of the same person.
The camera pans to the left, revealing two more pictures. The pictures shown so far seem to be on display atop a table, side by side and all facing the same direction. The picture of the young boy in the black and white outfit is still visible in this shot, all the way to the right of the screen. In the middle, there is a photo of a Caucasian couple on their wedding day. The groom is dressed in a tuxedo, and the bride has on a wedding gown with a veil flipped back. The couple is interlocking outstretched hands, seemingly mid-dance. There is a partially cut-off photo at the bottom left of the screen of a smiling little boy with brown hair. This is most likely the same boy in the other two pictures, and the couple may be his parents. So far, it seems we have been shown a picture display of a family of three.
The camera once again pans to the left. It is now revealed that the setting is definitely indoors, as a white and black staircase is shown. The wooden, finely crafted balusters accompanied with what looks like carefully color coordinated paint (the end of each step is black, while the surrounding wood is all white) makes it apparent that this is a pretty nice house, possibly in a suburban or upper-class neighborhood. The couple in the previously shown photo are probably the owners of this house, since homeowners typically display wedding-day photos. The boy and the parents all seem to reside in this house. This new frame also reveals the first sign of an actual person: a shadowy silhouette has fallen on the white side of the staircase. However, the shadow is unclear. Making out if it is a man or woman is near impossible. Several of the steps seem to be cut out of the shot, and four are shown. The shadow’s height reaches the top of the second step shown, and one can assume that there are more steps not shown in the frame. Since this shadow is a good number of steps tall, it probably is not the silhouette of the child. It most likely is one of the parents, which would explain the shadow’s non-childlike height. From prior viewing experiences of horror movies and other forms of entertainment that utilize shadows, I surmise that this shadowy presence is meant to allude to something sinister, as if something is happening in the dark of night that shouldn’t be.
The shadow is still visible against the white staircase, although the camera has now started to pan up along the path of the stairs. We can now only see the head of the shadow. The upstairs of the house has entered our vantage point, and it appears to be dark. In fact, there seems to be only one room with light on in the house: the room that the person casting the shadow is in. We can see forward into the downstairs hall, and that appears dark as well. Something is obscured by the balusters of the staircase. Light from the downstairs room is partially revealing what looks to be a person sitting on the steps. They appear to be wearing white and yellow clothing. As a child, I would sit on the steps at night on occasion and eavesdrop on my parents, who were below. Could this figure be the child from the photographs, eavesdropping on the two parents shown in the wedding picture? There is no way that the person who is on the steps is casting the shadow upon the staircase, since the way that the shadow is angled means that it must be coming from in front of the staircase, not from above.
The camera pans up and over the balusters and railing of the staircase to reveal a young boy sitting at the top of the steps. He is looking between the balusters, presumably at whoever is below in the lit room. He is wearing white pajamas and holding a yellow toy truck in his hands. These confirm that he is quite young, probably about the same age as the young boy in the photos. They are likely the same person. Since we only know that three characters exist so far in this video- the boy and his parents- we can surmise that the silhouette below is one of his parents. Additionally, he does not appear to be frightened, adding to the assumption that he knows the person below. The vantage point he is in, hidden in the dark by the staircase, is one of a silent observer. He may be watching something that he should not be seeing.
The camera angle suddenly switches to behind the boy. We see him from the back, his head turned to the left, still viewing whatever he was in the previous frame. Is this camera change supposed to suggest that someone is behind him? Are we seeing the boy through the eyes of one of his parents? The head of the shadow is visible again, now to the right of the boy on the wall. They have probably moved away from the staircase, since now the shadow can be seen on the wall past the stairs. The little boy is leaning back against the step behind him. This makes it seem like he has been sitting there watching for quite some time, and now has to rest his back.
The camera switches back to in front of the boy. We see him from below, as if we are sitting beneath him and looking up. His head is angled down, still viewing the scene below. His white pajamas are shown to have little hockey players on them. His white, innocent attire contrasts starkly to the surrounding darkness and air of voyeurism. This clothing also suggests that the boy may have gotten out of bed late at night to see what was going on downstairs. His expression is neutral, suggesting that whatever is going on below is nothing out of the ordinary for the boy. Half of his face is cast in shadows, adding to the hidden, spying moment the boy is experiencing.
At first, the boy is looking at something to his right. Then, his eyes quickly shift to the left. Was he looking at one person, then shifted his gaze to another?
He frowns and looks away from what he was watching to his lap, possibly at the toy truck sitting there. He appears to not like whatever it is he saw, or maybe the people below stopped doing whatever it was that was interesting the boy and he has had enough viewing.
A loud noise has likely occurred, as the boy jumps with fright, shoots his eyes back to where he had been looking for the majority of the video, and a look of fright crosses his face.
The boy’s eyes shift back and forth from left to right, as if he is looking at two different people. He scrunches his face in obvious disapproval of whatever it is that he is seeing.
The screen fades to black. White words appear against the black background: “Children have to sit by and watch. What’s your excuse?” It now becomes apparent that this is an ad against domestic abuse, and the negative impact it has on families, especially children.
The words “There’s no excuse for domestic violence” appear on the screen. A phone number, 1-800-End Abuse, is below.
The video has utilized the viewpoint of a child to make its message clear. Viewing the video with audio, I fully understood what was happening. A husband was abusing his wife, and their child was secretly viewing this, displaying signs of discomfort and unease. Analyzing this video through visuals alone, it was difficult to decipher what was going on for the majority of the video. I knew that there was a family of three living in a house, and that the child was probably viewing one of his parents secretly. However, I only saw one shadow for the entirety of the video. I could only tell that the boy was seeing two people by looking closely at his eyes and the directions in which they looked. The anti-abuse message of the video would be visually clearer if the creators had displayed the shadowy figure of the man raising a hand to hit the silhouette of his wife. Although this video does work quite well with the audio, it was a bit unclear and hard to figure out what the message was through visuals alone. I was not really sure what they were going for until the words appeared on screen at the video’s conclusion.