The Time Will Come (2016) Short Film Review

twc1The Time Will Come (Short 2016)

Director: Daniel Robinette
Writers: Jeff Cox, Daniel Robinette
Stars: Drew Matthews, Brett David Stelter
Runtime: 12min

Synopsis (from IMDb): “A tale of two people. One carries the burden of loss with the potential for retribution while the other seems to possess an uncanny ability of insight. A dark journey of self-reflection begins when their paths cross.”

The Time Will Come is the third title released from Dan Robinette the talented 4 Leagues Media. Departing slightly from their grounding in horror; in Dan’s own words this is their arthouse short.

We follow two men tangentially until they cross paths. One man, Kevin (Drew Matthews) we learn is suffering great grief, the other (Brett David Stelter) a vagabond of sorts who just so happens upon Kevin en route to has heavy laden destination. The bulk of the short is set in the car following the two’s conversation. It’s this exchange fleshes out the story and motivations of these characters, building to a nice climax. This short goes on to explore darker more relatable themes than the previous Drawn to Fear. The Time Will Come is yet another bite sized treat from this very talented team. Everyone who has experienced loss or heartbreak will get something out of this film.

twc2With bite sized films comes bite sized commentary lest I run the risk of ruining the experience for any potential viewers out there. The Time Will Come is masterfully crafted with a very high production value for such a simplistic set up. Acting was engaging and most importantly believable. The plot is nothing we haven’t seen before but its execution is where it shines as the character’s chemistry is fantastic. 4 Leagues are building up their demo reel and I feel are ready to tackle a feature début. Go seek this out if you’ve been on the edge of the short film rabbit hole and dive right in. Twelve minutes is something you’ll never regret losing!

Verdict: The Time Is Now

8/10

Already Dead (2016) Short Film Review

alreadydeadALREADY DEAD (2016) Short Film Review

Starring Darren Ruston, Luke Shaw, Shelley Davenport and Tony Cook

Written & Directed by Michael James Dean

Runtime – 16 minutes

“15 years after a zombie outbreak (ZE Day) Zombies live amongst us, working 9-5 jobs, holidaying in Barbados, and living “life” to the fullest. A documentary crew have been given exclusive access to a group of Zombies day-to-day “lives””. Via Michael James Dean.

The horror genre is rife with found footage at the moment, all pretty much interchangeable. It almost makes you forget that the genre that the format fits best was originally comedy, from the classic mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, to the much more recent and desperate-to-be-seen Winners Tape All, which I reviewed a few months ago. Like the latter, Already Dead is a hybrid of the horror and comedy genre, leaning heavily towards to comedy, dressed up as a short documentary.

And guess what. It’s very successful.

The pitch perfect comedic performances are what make this one work, from our “lead” zombie George (Ruston) to the lovely couple David (Tony Cook) and his undead fiancé Lynn (Davenport). Everything is done with that Great British dry sense of humour and darkly effective comic timing, the use of subtitles in particular allowing for some side-splitting moments.

alreadydead1Not only is Already Dead very funny, it also manages to be very thought-provoking. By using the documentary format, it manages to cover a large variety of very UK-relevant themes such as ageism, racism, the NHS, the treatment of the disabled, and addiction. And it does it all effortlessly in about 15 minutes! That’s really something.

The only thing I could complain about are some slightly iffy CGI FX, but these are probably down to the budget and really don’t distract from the fun here. If you’re looking for a nice twist on the zombie genre that pokes fun at the conventions while also having a lot of heart, definitely seek this out.

8/10

Pandora (2016) Short Film Review

pandora1Pandora (UK, 2016)
Dir: Drew Mewse
Starring: Susan Leiper, Andy Noble

Plot: When Susie (Leiper) accuses her boyfriend, Andy (Noble) of cheating, with photographic evidence to back it up, it sends Susie into a spiral of jealousy and mistrust. Obsessed with the photos of Andy with a mysterious woman, she summons Andy to talk it out.

This short film, Pandora, comes from Aberdonian writer/director Drew Mewse. As a fellow Aberdonian, I love to show support for horror films from Aberdeen, although they are few and far between with only films like The Redwood Massacre. To spread the word about good local horror and help grow the scene is important.

Pandora, tells a tale that most of us can relate to, the fear of a scorned lover and the looming threat that they pose. A tale about how love can go bad, lead to obsession and jealousy. It tells this story with visual metaphor, with the Pandora’s box, once opened can never be closed again.

Visually, this short is fantastic. Mewse’s cinematography really build a suspenseful atmosphere, paired with Ali Campbell’s music. Mewse and Campbell, along with producer, Barry Thackrey, share the majority of the credits for Pandora, and it’s an impressive short with such a small crew.

pandora2Pandora manages to tell it’s tale concisely and terrifyingly, in it’s 12 minute run time. The majority of the shots are essential for it’s story-telling with only the post-credit gag scene feeling a little needless, although it’s still a fun little extra. It’s great to see what Mewse and his crew have been able to create, and I look forward to his future work.

Pandora is available through Mewse’s Youtube Channel, Drew Mewse, which also has a 9 minute Behind the Scenes feature for Pandora.

8/10

Watch it here –

pandora3 pandora4

Count Magnus (2015) Short Film Review

magnus1Count Magnus (2015)

Director: Richard Mansfield

Mansfield Dark Productions

Available To Purchase – http://mansfielddark.com/MD/A_Pleasing_Terror.html

A Pleasing Terror: The Stories of M.R. James

A curious travelogue author, welcomed into the esteemed De la Gardie house, begins research for his next book during his stay in Sweden. Drawn in by a painting of a malevolent member of the family, he begins investigating the horrible acts and rumors of Count Magnus. With every step closer to the truth of the ominous figure, our doomed hero is schooled in the occult, the depraved and the stigma surrounding a family mausoleum where the late Count Magnus lies.

Count Magnus The PactI am a huge fan of weird fiction and have taken the opportunity to read some of the classics throughout my years of studying horror in all of its forms. Much like Lovecraft, M.R. James’ works are those that are wrought with the bizarre and unknown, although Count Magnus follows a darker, Judeo-Christian terror steeped in blackness and a daring decent down the ever-spiralling Left-Hand Path. After reading the original tale (one in which I had not previously indulged, I am sad to admit), it was exciting to see how close to the source material Richard Mansfield stayed.

Count MagnusFilmed with silhouettes, Count Magnus harkens back to the days of skilful delivery in lieu of over-indulgent production value. The method works, as even the more revealing set pieces become more ominous as shadows writhe and cloaked figures watch from the background. I would say that a film of this sort is minimalistic, but that would be a disservice to the amount of admiration and hard work put into the scenery and characters; even the simpler moments from the film are made to feel full, much more in the vein of a live action work. To accentuate the tense moments and dreadful build-up of the story, solid narration and a creepily grandiose score helps the film keep a constant momentum.

Count Magnus ResearchShort films can be challenging. When budget is limited and time is of the essence, how do you hook an audience and reach closure with such tight restrictions? Count Magnus hits the nail on the head and then continues to methodically pound it into the imagination. Fans of silent films, classic weird fiction, or a more original spin for horror cinema will enjoy the brief run time in its entirety. A labor of love, Count Magnus is a monument to the passion that keeps this genre, and its community, thriving.

10/10

Sleep Depraved (2012) Short Film Review

sleepdepraved1Sleep Depraved (2012)

Director: Gabriele Toresani

Writer: Stefano Lazzati

Starring: Claudio Abbiati, Ilario Carvelli, Dora di Mauro

Runtime: 14min

Synopsis/Tagline:
Dario has been awake for 127 days. There is a presence in his house that haunts him: his baby boy. As his problems at work and in every other part of his life seem to grow and get out of control, his grasp on what’s real seems to fade, hallucinations and reality start to mix and blend. Desperate, Dario sees only one way out: he has to kill his son.

The opening scene pans to a baby monitor, only a light crackle of static can be heard. Cutting quickly to a close up of the gaunt looking Dario (played by the fantastic Davide Umiliata), reminiscing about more peaceful times, or so we think! A man we soon learn has not slept in 127 days. The almost silent room then fills with the shriek of the forever off screen son, a quality that reminds us that Dario is not dealing with the issues at hand. We are now fully aware why Dario hasn’t been getting much rest. For anybody who has children or has minded children we will all at some point in time cast a thought of frustration towards our child but as the pressure builds in Dario’s life he’s looking to silence his son for good.

Without spoiling this little gem and to let you the reader enjoy it all for yourself I will keep as vague as possible, as every scene is oozing with detail. We are taken on a whirlwind ride in 14min as this short brings to the fore issues that everyone can relate to, which have been all intensified through the sleep deprivation that Dario is suffering from. Intimacy, anger, confusion, isolation, Dario’s whole reality is distorted. We are unsure as the audience where dreaming ends and reality begins for Dario. He tells his doctor he does not have micro sleeps yet Dario can be seen waking from these when friends and colleagues interrupt them. Each time we are thrown into lustful fantasies tainted with the frustrations of the restless child and the violent urges that now accompany it.

sleepdepraved2Director Gabriele Toresani, writer Stefano Lazzati and editor Marco Circosta Garcia have given us this thought provoking and skilfully crafted short film. In Toresani’s first venture into fiction (previous work includes only a documentary film Comic-Men) we have been given a wonderful piece of work. What Sleep Depraved suffered from the most was its brief runtime, I was left wanting more. There is definite scope to expand the concept into a fully realised motion picture if Toresani and co put their craft at work once more.

A must watch.

8/10

Short Sharp Shock #11 – Brutal Relax (2010)

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!

Brutal Relax (2010)

Directors – Adrián Cardona, Rafa Dengrá, David Muñoz

Starring – José María Angorrilla, Pep Sais, Mayka Dengrá

Runtime – 15 Minutes

IMDB – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1806827/

Mr Olivares has already recovered, but now he needs a vacation. To go to some heavenly place where he can relax and blithely enjoy himself.

Don’t Despair (2015) Short Film Review

Don't Despair CoverDon’t Despair (2015)

Director: Alfred Giancarli

Starring: Erin Etheridge, Bec Fordyce, Kevin Reed

Written and directed by Alfread Giancarli, Don’t Despair follows Rachel (Erin Etheridge) and William (Kevin Reed), serial killer memorabilia collectors, who meet up in a dimly lit bar after communicating in an online message board. William sells Rachel a rare piece from his collection, more enthralled by her presence than distraught by the loss, and proceeds to explain the collectible’s significance with admiration. As the two bond over Rachel’s newly acquired art, the scenery changes and the plot takes an interesting twist.

Short films have experienced a boom over the past two decades, bolstered even more as of late by such mainstream collections as V/H/S or The ABCs of Death. The challenge for these quick slices of horror is that time is of the essence. Don’t Despair manages to create interesting characters, sold by the actors’ focused, deliberate dialogue and a sense that something is not quite right below the surface in less than twenty minutes. In addition, solid filming from Alfred Giancarli gives the audience a sharp, raw view of an uncommon, uncomfortable hobby.

Don't Despair SceneI have always been interested in the culture of serial killer obsession, though much of my deterrence from following said interests comes from personal morality more so than a sense of disgust. Don’t get me wrong; I own a handful of oddities and always hunt for new curios to add to my collection. However, Don’t Despair is a film about the human psyche and repressed desires.

What Alfred Giancarli does is allow the uninitiated to catch a glimpse of what happens when collecting and obsession are taken to the extreme and hero worship receives a completely new meaning. The results are unsettling.

Don't Despair The MasterpieceIf you are not a fan of violence or torture, whether implied or explicit, then this will not be an intriguing catch for you. Don’t Despair is an excellent example of what a creative mind can do with very little and the brief snapshot that viewers spend with the characters is both fascinating and cringe-worthy. Give this a moment of your time if you enjoy digging into the darker side of humanity and can appreciate strolling down the unbeaten path. As the master of the strange H. P. Lovecraft once wrote: “Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places.”

9/10

Short Sharp Shock #10 – Mamá (2008)

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!

Mamá (2008)

Writer & Director – Andrés Muschietti

Starring – Victoria Harris, Berta Ros, Irma Monroig

Runtime – 3 Minutes

IMDB – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1315885/

A young girl wakes up and tells her sister that their mother has returned home.

Terry and Brenda (2014) Short Film Review

TERRY_AND_BRENDA_POSTERTerry and Brenda (2014)

Director: Jamie Hooper

Runtime – 15 mins

Starring: Tim Blackwell, Debra Baker, Lucy Hutchinson and Tom Geoffrey.

You can’t choose your family… but you can choose your victims.

Terry and Brenda is a dazzling 15-minute short film written and directed by the talented Jamie Hooper. The film revolves around a northern dysfunctional couple who have simple values in life. Hooper displays a stereotypical portrayal of low income family life with Terry and Brenda reminding me of the Royle Family with seedy elements of Fred and Rosemary West thrown in for good measure.

TERRY_AND_BRENDA_2The film begins with Terry and Brenda sat talking and watching television having a cosy night in with a plate full of biscuits, some filthy chat about fish fingers and discussing if Arnold Schwarzenegger was in Robocop. The only excitement the two of them get up to this point is when Terry records Robocop and Brenda gets a brew made for her. This is sweetly written and Hooper gives us a nice mixture of horror and comedy.

Suddenly we find out what the couple are really into when they make their way to the bedroom and we see them bound in leather with Brenda taking control ready for a night of weird sexual fantasies including making Terry beg like a dog for a bourbon biscuit. Brenda as a leather clad mistress gets her pleasure in a number of ways and the two of them even film themselves carrying out their aggressive fantasies. Without giving too much away other other elements are added to the storyline including a nice performance from Lucy Hutchinson playing the role of Kelly.

TERRY_AND_BRENDA_3The acting is really good in this, Tim Blackwell as Terry and Debra Baker as Brenda have great on screen chemistry and I would love to see much more of their characters even if I do find them a little scary. The weird thing is I know people who actually remind me of Terry and Brenda, it’s scary to know what goes on behind close doors and if these people have dark secrets and weird fantasies like Terry and Brenda!

Hooper gets everything spot on in this tasty short from Terry’s dirty vest and cheesy souvenir mugs to the atmosphere and superb cinematography. The humour works really well along with the unease throughout and not knowing where Hooper is taking us but one thing’s for sure Terry and Brenda will keep you hooked until the end!

9/10

Links

Website – http://www.jamhoop.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/jamhoopfilm

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’