The Brethren (2015) Short Film Review

The Brethren PosterThe Brethren (Short 2015)

Director: Shane Wheeler

Writer: Shane Wheeler

Starring: Ian Clegg, Scarlet Groom, Daniel Lovett

Runtime: 10min

Synopsis: A young man wakes up abruptly in the night, compelled to did in his garden he uncovers a box, whatever will happen next

The Brethren from the start is ,obvious through its presentation, a low budget affair. I had my doubts admittedly as it started, expecting the worst of low budget bilge as the film opens to something shot on a Handycam (but not a “found film”). Well I was proven wrong, as the saying goes, never judge a book by its cover. The Brethren is a master work in what has been achieved here. A great reminder of the quality that can be offered by low budget films, when given the right people and story behind it.

So simple is the plot, it took something special to pull it off and Shane Wheeler and Co delivered. Following a young man’s (Danieal Lovett) rise from a nightmarish dream, he is compelled to dig up his garden where he finds a box, in which are six wax sealed glasses with an unknown liquid inside. Set at the young man’s kitchen table the close camera-work really builds a sense of unease. I was quickly drawn in, eager to find out and uncover the secrets of The Brethren. In its brief runtime you will be entertained and become invested in the young man’s journey. I have not much more to say about The Brethren, without, I feel, ruining this little horror nugget. That many might overlook, as I do believe this piece was actually completed a few years ago.

Acting was overall fit for purpose, props were to a minimum and what was used seemed authentic. The makeup effects however, were overly exaggerated, making them look cheap, taking you out of the submersion. This could have been avoided and I appreciate the stylistic choice but, most of the makeup work was used for promotional photos that don’t make it into the final cut. In saying that give this gem a watch

Verdict: Low Budget Masterclass

8/10

Trailer

The Twisted Death of a Lonely Madman (2014) DVD Review

14770303938_52d1081ec1_zThe Twisted Death of a Lonely Madman (2014)

Directed By – Will’ Terran

Starring – Stewart O’Reilly, Nicola Posener, Raquel Cassidy

Run Time – 81 minutes

Adam hasn’t left his flat in six months for fear of being attacked. Creating conversational videos of his favourite movie star Starlet Maddinson has kept him just about the right side of sane over that time. Just about. When a straightforward encounter causes Adam’s worst fears to come true, a malevolent psycho begins a campaign of intimidation and intrusion into Adam’s home. As the world shrinks around him and the company of Starlet Maddinson’s image turns on him, reality blurs with nightmare to tear Adam’s private little world apart. – Black Barn Productions

The Twisted Death of a Lonely Madman is a gripping study of agoraphobia & the related issues of anxiety and depression that emerge from Adam’s self-imposed isolation. It was clearly produced on a very tight budget, but the vast majority of this film manages to rise above the constraints this often gives to a film. Anyone who has sat through any number of feature-length no-budget movies at film festivals or the like will know the required mentality where every technical flaw or moment of poor acting can be overlooked, that you can gleam some positives from the sheer fact that they managed to get the film made at all. Twisted Death… does not require this at all. It stands on its own through very finely tuned pacing and a whole host of brilliant ideas.

14956579702_2412e5958c_zTaking place entirely in the confines of Adam’s flat, who is also the only main character and whose bored, deliberately monotone voice provides a narration, this film defies tried & tested ways of keeping an audience entertained for a feature length, but manages it better than many big-budget films with far wider scopes. There isn’t a single scene that feels pointless, or padded out for length; we’re given a half-heartedly optimistic insight into the world Adam has created for himself in his tiny flat, before slowly we get glimpses of the darker side to his solitude and illness. Without stopping him from being relatable, his own paranoia seeping through to the audience as tension is built out of the smallest things. As reality becomes harder to define in Adam’s world, key scenes offer some incredible imagery –one particular scene featuring nothing but his computer was jaw-droppingly intense and I genuinely couldn’t take my eyes off the screen.

Technically this film is impressive too; black and white is often used as an “instant art” attachment by inexperienced film-makers, but here it was clearly considered from the beginning of production, with fantastic use of light and shadows reminding us that even in modern times where Hollywood relies on super-saturated visuals, black and white movies can still be beautiful. Except for in just one scene, the subtle effects are well pulled off, and are very effective in creating a sense of paranoia & providing a handful of genuinely unsettling images. Stewart O’Reilly (as Adam) is the only actor given very much to work with and does a very good job with it, but Nicola Posener (playing Starlet Maddinson) also shows great promise in her brief scenes throughout the film.

14956918355_5434a6f355_zGiven the title of this film, along with the tagline “In The End He Will Die” that clears up any ambiguity there may have been, and the promotional website hewilldie.com, there are no prizes for guessing how this film ends. Spoiling the ending of a film in its promotion is of course an odd deliberate choice, often one consigned to bumbling marketing departments, but here it works to give the movie a certain morbid inevitability, and forces us to ask for the duration of the movie; “how?”. Clues are scattered throughout the movie, but still the final revelations are quite unexpected and shocking, ending what was already an incredibly engrossing, suspenseful film that deals intelligently with the very real issues of mental health alongside the more fantastical nightmarish visuals, on an unpredictable high note.

9/10

For more info click on the following links

http://blackbarnproductions.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/hewilldie

https://twitter.com/BlackBarnPros