Pieces (2016) Short Films Review

piecesshort1Pieces (UK, 2016)
Dir: Dan Sunley
Starring: Kristy Guest, Kate Sandison, Louise Willoughby,

Website – http://www.piecesfilm.com

Plot: When grandmother, Theresa (Sandison) dies, it’s up to granddaughter, Isabella (Guest), to put her house in order. Going through her grandmother’s things, she discovers a journal and a jigsaw puzzle. Strange occurrences around the house stir up old memories and compels Isabella to complete the puzzle in hopes that it might reveal secrets about her grandmother.

The first short film by writer/director Dan Sunley and his production company Cappuccino Studio, following up from the feature film You’re Fired!! While the previous production was a crime comedy, Pieces is a stark contrast, an emotional ghost story. Focusing on the relationship between a dead grandmother and grieving granddaughter, Pieces captures the moment where are mortality feels the most fragile. On first impressions I feared that this might just be another low budget ghost short, continuing the sub-genre’s popularity in contemporary horror.

Thankfully Pieces has it’s own strengths, in it’s location and it’s actors. It’s claustrophobic little house setting mimics the traditional haunted house well with it’s tight corridors and slamming doors. The cast is tiny at just four actors and even then it’s really only about the two main characters. Guest as Isabella is easy to sympathise with as the responsible member of the family having to do the hard work of respectfully dealing with her dead grandmother’s belongings, a task most of us dread ever having to do.

piecesshort2Sandison’s role as Theresa is more about bringing the mystery and the scares. Her spirit is responsible for the occasional jump scare. The short doesn’t rely to heavily on jump scares but what little they have work well.

Although no filmmaker likes hearing comparisons to other works, especially if they are attempting to make something new and unique, I find myself comparing Pieces to The Babadook rather than any other ghost film. It’s due to the allegorical nature of the short, that the putting the puzzle together feels like a metaphor for grief, the process of dealing with the loss of her grandmother before getting back to her normal life. It doesn’t entirely commit to this idea though, a last minute plot twist brings it back to a less serious tone and more scary fun.

piecesshort3Pieces is a good short, it’s well made, well acted and does it’s own thing, mostly. It’s not entirely original, only for being a ghost story in a time when ghost stories are overly abundant. When you’ve seen so many ghost stories it’s a little easy to see where the plot is going but it’s a good tale none the less.


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Christopher Stewart

About Christopher Stewart

Christopher Stewart is a long term horror fanatic. With a fascination for the morbid and bizarre, Christopher enjoys going to horror cons, film festivals, and where ever creepy stuff happens. Short fiction writer and genre-muser over at HorrorEveryDay.com. Christopher can be found in the often-frozen North of Scotland, and on Twitter @horror365.