Short films always present an interesting scenario, one of three choices, stellar productions you hope earn the greenlight for a full feature, be fun entertainment while on limited time, and the emotional side of laugh and smile, be fearful or simply groan in agony. This movie brings both high entertainment value and no groans, rather it established the filmmaker as a serious contender in cinema, especially this movie earned its own records as the most awards for a horror short film, with over 75 festival and industry awards and officially selected to over 100 festivals worldwide. They deployed an incredible marketing plan that could easily work for any filmmaker, but I will discuss more on this later. As everyone knows in the biz short films require people to do and wear multiple hats, and for Jonathan Martin it was no different serving first director and screenwriter then as an actor, producer, film editor, and production designer, it’s a lot to handle, but he did it all successfully. It was his first venture into the horror genre as director, and since then created some wonderful horror shorts namely two films in 2016 Creatures of Whitechapel and Kiss the Devil in the Dark.
The film starts quickly with a single doorbell chime the story opens with Dorothy Pritchard (Wendy Macy) who’s arrived for the caring of a 92-year-old woman on Halloween night complete with a beautiful home fully decorated. As for answering the door it’s Alice Poe (Michele Turner Wilson), daughter to the elderly woman, she engages the customary dull conservation, while she argues with her husband Russell (Rick Macy), who are heading to a party. It is within two-and-half minutes that Alice notes their wealth and power, their luxury home, to going to a party at the Governor’s mansion, yet still with all their wealth they hire a young woman to act as caregiver. We have a fleeting moment to meet the mother before transitioning to the evening, exceptional set design and lighting does exceptionally well in the creation of an eerie evening. Therefore, not to reveal too many of the film’s phenomenal storytelling, let’s merely highlight from ghoul trick-or-treaters to evil jester clowns and plenty of odd occurrences, Dorothy, has her own nightmarish dreamscape filled with both pranks and devil treats in the darkness. Martin creates the trap, luring the audience into his creation with full-on atmosphere that often lacks in big budget modern-day horror flicks, here it’s all impressively layered, works in a fair amount of tension.
Almost everyone on the set has the opportunity to showcase their talents, such as Devin Graham’s cinematography, returning to classic horror with a spooky element, that exceptional longer than normal shot is loaded with atmosphere and then there’s Jamey Anthony’s costumes to show the wife’s high-maintenance attitude, the complete opposite of a husband with very causal demeanor with a ho-hum style. Often the special effects are suspect in a short film, however Stephen Sobisky creates some wonderful moments, that one wonders how that from an indie budget is and just the artist pouring himself into the work, to show stunning work on the screen, which leads to the other departments including art direction, makeup and visual effects excelling nicely. One can’t omit the score the film, from Kevin G. Lee, it contains hints of Danny Elfman, and creating an eerie tone that once again harkens back to the classic horror era.
Oh, that marketing plan, very simple, first each person on the crew list, works every day on their social media getting new friends and sharing stills from the film, all to work to grow attention of an audience. Next to find where the cast and crew’s families are from, for example relatives in Montana or Nevada so if there was then that person travels to that state hopefully close to event, basically having a presence a few lines to discuss the film and its works.
This film harks back to the good old days of 80’s horror where things were kept simple, for the most part, I remember dolls being used a lot more back then, the setting of the house and the fact it is on Halloween night harks back to horrors more ‘fun’ era where things didn’t always have to be making some sort of statement.
- .. she wakes up
IMDb Rating: 6.9/10
Baron’s Rating: 7.0/10