Whisper (2015) Short Film Review

whisperposterWhisper (Short 2015)

Director: Jo Lewis

Writer: Stewart Pringle

Starring: Imogen Doel

Runtime: 12min

Website – http://www.breakneckfilms.com

Synopsis: A young women heads to see a seaside cabin in an attempt to end her crippling addiction.

Whisper opens with an unknown girl (Imogen Doel) floating in the sea and then up a rough old path in the sunny country side, is she on holiday or a short weekend break? We are left speculating. Then I remember this is a horror drama and I’m immediately thrown into suspense. I made sure not to read up on this beautiful short prior to screening, so I had no idea what to expect, which is a feeling you don’t often experience with horror these days.

whisper1As the story progresses the camera grows ever closer, very subtly, an induced claustrophobia, literal cabin fever begins to set in. We soon learn this was not a holiday.

Heroin addiction is quite heavy subject matter and is certainly not made light of here, the sickness, confusion, the lines between reality and hallucinations are all blurred due to withdrawal. Whisper is quite like as if Trainspotting (1996) and Requiem for a Dream (2000) had a 12min baby. Very tastefully done we are left unnerved and dumbfounded; an outside-looking-in view of heroin addiction.

Whisper is visually an absolute marvel. Jo Lewis’ vision behind the camera is fantastic; each shot not focused on Louise; a picturesque cinemagraph bursting with colour. The internal cabin is cold and nauseating due to low light and close angles. The transition from day to night also mirroring Louise’s worsening condition. Imogen Doel is well cast and acted well, good to see the Irish represented in cinema (Disclaimer: Irish myself 😉 ).

whisperOverall a beautiful, artistic and blood chilling account of addiction in the middle class. However, the ambiguous nature of the climax may leave some viewers unsatisfied, I found myself in this bracket. Had there been more clarity in the writing, it would have addressed addiction more than just making it a gorgeous looking piece of cinema.

Verdict: Style and Substance Abuse.

7/10

Crow Hand !!! (2014) Short Film Review

crow1CROW HAND!!! (2014)

Dir: Brian Lonano

Starring: Jason Vail, Caitlin McPhail

Runtime – 3 Minutes

UK release TBC

As a cheery, all-American couple (Jason Vail and Caitlin McPhail) leave a supermarket and return to their car laden down with shopping, the man notices a strange item on the floor. Upon closer inspection, he realises it is an intricately carved crow totem.

His wife tells him to ignore it and hurry to the car but his curiosity gets the better of him and he can’t help but scoop it up off the car park floor. However, there is more to this creepy keepsake than meets the eye and soon both of them find themselves regretting his hasty decision…

In the immortal words of Ron Burgundy: ‘Boy, that escalated quickly!’

crow3Crow Hand!! is goofy, almost a pastiche of traditional horror films, with its ancient cursed artefact and shockingly extreme gore. You wouldn’t have thought that a film running at a mere 152 seconds (including credits!) could go from zero to ‘What the Hell did I just see????’, but Crow Hand!!! Does exactly that.

It’s a very fun film, one that feels a lot like a truncated segment from a splattery Eighties anthology such as Creepshow or Tales From The Darkside. It’s a simple story with a very linear plot line, has plenty of silly charm and, more importantly, builds to the most barking of climaxes.

The charm comes in the cheesy dialogue and wilfully bonkers reactions of Vail and McPhail (not to mention Vail’s awesome attire). They chew up their lines and spit them out with self-aware relish, whether they be deliberately downplaying their responses to some seriously messed-up events or embracing the craziness and going hilariously melodramatic. The script, by director Lonano, gives his leads plenty to work with, and the pair utterly run with it.

I’m already a big fan of Jason Vail (who has appeared in such genre flicks as Valley of the Sasquatch and Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies), and he is as awesome as ever, while McPhail matches him every step of the way. The pair have nice chemistry and bounce their delivery off one another wonderfully. They also show a real talent for the physical side of their comedy and throw themselves into their work admirably.

crow4Lonano doesn’t just write well for his actors, he also shoots them brilliantly. With some great angles and zany camera work, Lonano infuses proceedings with a deranged dynamism, while cinematographer Josh Skierski ensures that the film looks fantastic. It might seem far-fetched to think that such a short film could have such a visual impact but Crow Hand!!! has tonnes of style that really help it to stand out from the crowd.

Of course, it’s not just the production values of the visuals that impress — no, along with Vail and McPhail, the third star of this film is the tremendous special effects work from Nik Morgan and production designer Blake Myers, along with Jeff Jenkins’ digital effects. I don’t think it’s too big of a spoiler to reveal that later on in this film there is a lot of gore, nor to say that most of it comes from a diabolical ‘crow hand’. However, I imagine plenty of you will be shocked and surprised to see just how splattery things get. Plus, the titular Crow Hand manages to be both laughably campy and genuinely unnerving — often at the same time!

The very game actors end up pretty much covered head-to-toe in fake blood (plus some surprisingly polished prosthetics) and as increasing extreme acts of wanton violence take place onscreen, you can’t help but grin despite yourself.

crow2OK, it’s not the deepest of films — there’s only so much subtext you can layer into two minutes of screentime — and it’s silliness may put-off viewers after some serious, thought-provoking scares, but sometimes all you want from a film is to be entertained — and that is something that the folks at Robot Hand Films manage in spades with this delightfully deranged short. It’s an absolute riot and a film that I thoroughly recommend to all fans of blood and the bizarre.

7/10

Short Sharp Shock #20 – The Root of The Problem (2012)

Short Sharp Shock banner no boltWelcome to UK Horror Scene’s Short Sharp Shock. This is where we will feature a short film each week for your viewing pleasure. Short films are the foundation of Horror, it is where many of the established directors cut their teeth . The amount of quality short films out there is incredible and it is our pleasure to choose you a new one each week that we think will blow you away. So every Friday we will give you ‘Something for the Weekend’ and issue your weekly Short,Sharp,Shock! Enjoy!

The Root of The Problem (2012)

Director – Ryan Spindell

Writers – Mark E. Davidson, Ryan Spindell

Starring – Alison Gallaher, Brea Grant, Ptolemy Slocum

IMDB – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2271366/

Runtime – 14 Minutes

Short Sharp Shock #18 The Sleepover (2012)

Short Sharp Shock banner no boltWelcome to UK Horror Scene’s Short Sharp Shock. This is where we will feature a short film each week for your viewing pleasure. Short films are the foundation of Horror, it is where many of the established directors cut their teeth . The amount of quality short films out there is incredible and it is our pleasure to choose you a new one each week that we think will blow you away. So every Friday we will give you ‘Something for the Weekend’ and issue your weekly Short,Sharp,Shock! Enjoy!

The Sleepover (2012)

Director – Chris Cullari

Writers – Chris Cullari & Jennifer Raite

Starring – Josh Feldman, Gus Kamp, Carolyn Jania

Runtime – 6 Minutes

The town of Derry has a secret, but no one told the new kid. It’s gonna be a long night.

Short Sharp Shock #16 The Sandman (1991)

Short Sharp Shock banner no boltWelcome to UK Horror Scene’s Short Sharp Shock. This is where we will feature a short film each week for your viewing pleasure. Short films are the foundation of Horror, it is where many of the established directors cut their teeth . The amount of quality short films out there is incredible and it is our pleasure to choose you a new one each week that we think will blow you away. So every Friday we will give you ‘Something for the Weekend’ and issue your weekly Short,Sharp,Shock! Enjoy!

The Sandman (1991)
Director – Paul Berry
Writer – E.T.A Hoffmann
Runtime – 9 Minutes
On a dark night, as the clock strikes eight, a mother sends her child upstairs to bed with only a candle for light. The child is wary, then frightened. The child hears something climbing the stairs…..

Short Sharp Shock #15 Slash-In-The-Box (2011)

Short Sharp Shock banner no boltWelcome to UK Horror Scene’s Short Sharp Shock. This is where we will feature a short film each week for your viewing pleasure. Short films are the foundation of Horror, it is where many of the established directors cut their teeth . The amount of quality short films out there is incredible and it is our pleasure to choose you a new one each week that we think will blow you away. So every Friday we will give you ‘Something for the Weekend’ and issue your weekly Short,Sharp,Shock! Enjoy!

Slash-In-The-Box (2011)

Writer & Director – Nick Everhart

Starring – Tyler Hollinger, Elizabeth Masucci

Runtime – 5 Minutes

When Adam brings home an antique jack-in-the-box for his wife, pop goes the evil.

Short Sharp Shock #6 – BlinkyTM (2011)

Short Sharp Shock banner no boltWelcome to UK Horror Scene’s Short Sharp Shock. This is where we will feature a short film each week for your viewing pleasure. Short films are the foundation of Horror, it is where many of the established directors cut their teeth . The amount of quality short films out there is incredible and it is our pleasure to choose you a new one each week that we think will blow you away. So every Friday we will give you ‘Something for the Weekend’ and issue your weekly Short,Sharp,Shock! Enjoy!

BlinkyTM (2011)

aka Bad Robot

Writer & Director – Ruairi Robinson

Starring – Max Records, Jenni Fontana, James Nardini.

Runtime – 13 Minutes

IMDB – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1520494/

Website – www.ruairirobinson.com

‘A story about a boy, his robot and the consequences of his anger at the disintegration of his parents marriage’

Short Sharp Shock #2 – Angst, Piss & Drid (2012)

Short Sharp Shock banner no boltWelcome to UK Horror Scene’s Short Sharp Shock. This is where we will feature a short film each week for your viewing pleasure. Short films are the foundation of Horror, it is where many of the established directors cut their teeth . The amount of quality short films out there is incredible and it is our pleasure to choose you a new one each week that we think will blow you away. So every Friday we will give you ‘Something for the Weekend’ and issue your weekly Short,Sharp,Shock! Enjoy!

Angst, Piss & Drid (2012)

Director & Writer – Fredrik Hana

Starring – Maja Baaserud & Arthur Berning

Runtime – 19 Minutes

IMDB – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2543932/

“The complicated love between two serial killers”.