Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Horror Shorts Reviews for July 2015

Text © Richard Gary / Indie Horror Films, 2015
Images from the Internet

The Name I Know
Written and directed by Preston Corbell
6:29 / 2015  
This isn’t about the horror from without, but the more terrifying one from within. The viewer helplessly observes as an unnamed man (Preston Corbell) is buried under the weight of his profound depression, as he contemplates his next – or possibly last – step. For such a short film, there is some graphic gore as we not only hear his thoughts in emotionless monotone through a distorting echo, but also watch the world as he sees it. Both nicely done yet disturbing, you feel for this person, without any real back story, just his moment of pain. Beautifully photographed in color and B&W in a way that reminds me of the scene of The Graduate (1967) where Mrs. Robinson slides down the wall at the top of the stairs, it’s bleak, and the space around the character gives into the feeling of loneliness. Beautiful and intense. It is currently running occasionally on Indie Horror TV (IHTV).

Don’t Play
Concept and directed by Vicky (aka Vekky)
Jaaini Arts
4:44 / 2015
Filmed in the forests of India (though it looks like it could have been anywhere), a lone photographer (Satish Premalatha) does what I’ve done a thousand times: walked through the woods and taken pictures of what I find interesting. But what he finds is something else. Seemingly inspired by some of the popular Japanese / Korean horror films of the past couple of decades, something is stalking the photographer. Even given an idea of what is the end result if you’ve seen Ju-On (2002) / The Grudge (2004) or the like, this is a very nice and modern twist to the story that is quite effective. Beautifully shot, there is both a feeling of space and enclosure at the same time, and enjoyable from beginning to end.

Directed by Lee Boxleitner
Blue House Productions
3:43 / 2015
A young daughter wakes up her dad. Happens every day, right? But it’s the most mundane events that can become the most terrifying, as well. This non-complex, simple premise is the core of a film that may actually make you jump. Incredibly well acted by the small cast, shot in one room, and basically two angles, and yet so much can be read into what you see happen. The cinematic equivalent of a “postcard novel,” it is also a stunningly good piece of micro-short work.

2AM: The Smiling Man
Directed by Michael Evans
Go For Broke Pictures
4:08 / 2013
Just imagine you’re walking home late at night through a suburban neighborhood, the air is just a bit chilly, and you notice a man a ways off down the street, by himself, with a strange grin and dancing sinisterly. What do you do? More importantly what will he do?  These questions are what is behind the mystery of these two strangers. This is an extremely unnerving short, mostly for the mystery behind it and the creepiness of the Smiling Man. You won’t know whether to wince, to jump or to laugh. This film is very effective for its mood, its two-person cast, and for managing to take a simple premise and make it work for its full 4 minutes without getting to the “C’mon already!” stage. Even the lighting is ordinary, easy to see thanks to the streetlights. But that doesn’t take anything away from the unsettling feeling you get throughout. Really enjoyable.

Crash Site: It Came From the VCR, Episode 1
Directed by Richard Griffin
Scorpio Film Releasing / Cut Rate Motion Pictures
19:30 / 2013
For some reason I really can’t fathom that this comedic film has gotten some strongly negative reviews. I know it’s one of the director’s favorites of his work, and I can see why. Sure it’s goofy, but I’ve seen such terrible crap on the big screen (can anyone say Bridesmaids (2011), or nearly anything with Seth Rogan, Adam Sandler, or most of the middle-to-later period SNL-alums.  But I digress...). After a spaceship lands and attacks a couple during the omnipresent “opening scene,” we are introduced to the main characters, three men and three women, in the woods, camping out. The “7th wheel” is Johnny, a green dude with three nobs on his forehead. Naturally, most of these amusingly dunderheads think it’s because he’s, well, European (perhaps, they ponder, from a BLOC country, like LEGOLAND?). I don’t think I’m giving away anything when I say that not only is Johnny an alien, but he has come for the men as sex slaves (as a proud Ally, I have never heard the term “power bottom” before).

Jamie Lyn Bagley steals most the film with her quips and sarcastic line reading, e.g., “Yeah, he’s gay, that’s the problem.” Also, Michael Thurber’s almost apologetic inserts as the character of the “producer” of the film, the way Woody Allen did in What’s Up Tiger Lily (1966), or William Castle with House on Haunted Hill (1959) and The Tingler’s (1959) trailers, are hysterical. As Johnny, Johnny Sederquist chews the drapes, the trees, and anything he gets his hands on, which is actually appropriate for an alien role. That is, it’s no more or less broad than John Lithgow’s hammingly [sic] Emmy-winning role in 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996-2001).

Coincidentally, I watched this the same day the Supreme Court green lit gay marriage, so I was – er – primed. From what I understand, many critics felt this film was gay bashing, which I am assuming is a result of people being “turned” gay, but as Richard Griffin perplexedly told me, many associated with the film are gay, so that never even occurred to them. I believe that those who are feeling that are being overly sensitive and reactionary, and not watching an enjoyable comedy about mores, and using and then turning the kids-in-the-wood tropes with a comic twist. Yeah, I recommend this, and take it for what it is: a fun and campy romp.

1 comment:

  1. thank you very much Rechard for review my short film DONT PLAY...i got lot of confidence from your encouragement..