Inland Freaks

It takes a brave film maker to tackle subjects that are by and large taboo. Child abuse and paedophilia may not be taboo per se, in that they are depicted in a number of films and other media, but rarely is it tackled from the perspective of the perpetrator and especially not in a soft, almost sympathetic way.

This film does this in a way that isn’t disrespectful to victims but highlights the humanity within those that offend. It looks at repentance, mental anguish, guilt, denial and suffering but it never portrays itself as feeling sorry for the offenders.

The film is powerful and atmospheric whilst remaining simple in structure and narrative. A prison setting is always going to bring a dramatic flair, but here, couple with the music and the melancholic ambience it provides a very somber atmosphere that suits the story and its characters perfectly.

The script is emotionally charged yet completely controlled, with well delivered and thought provoking dialogue that feels natural and thought through. Despite never really getting to know any of the characters they feel developed and well written. The narrative, although seemingly simple on the surface, provides a lot of well developed story that runs deeper than it initially appears.

The cinematography and production is outstanding. Excellent use of music and photography emphasise the films atmosphere and melancholia. Visually the dull, almost depressing colours mirror the offenders moods and mentality as does the music.

The film takes a risk in its topic but it pays off in its execution.

Kill The Engine

It takes a very clever writer and director to take a topic that is so negative and so emotional such as suicide, group suicide no less, and turn it into a comedy sketch that still has heart and meaning. Fortunately in this case, that’s exactly what happened.

The film begins with three guys trying to start a car and through the conversation and sub textual inferences we make, it becomes clear they are trying to gas themselves. From the off the three main characters have a great rapour which helps the audience connect with them. They aren’t your typical suicidal characters which makes them more human, they have identity.

The fact that they can’t get the car to start is what brings in the humour but it is subtle and done well. The overlaying joke is the fact they are trying to breath life into a car (literally at one point) that is eventually meant to kill them. It’s that sort of ironic dark humour that works really well here.

The script is clever, both in its subtle use of dialogue which isn’t over used or too exposition all, and in the structure of the narrative. It’s simple yet clever and effective. The audience are given just enough to get in on the jokes, and just enough physical comedy that it doesn’t turn slapstick.

The ending works particularly well. This suicide attempt has actually brought these guys together and the fact that they accomplish their goal leaves them elated, until they realise what it ultimately means. The end. But we never see what they choose to do. The hose pipe in the care window offers a suggestion but it isn’t conclusive, and it’s that that leaves the audience questioning and talking. That is what effective film does, it stays with the audience.

An excellently constructed short film that utilises it’s dark comedy perfectly. With strong performances and a well written script, this is definitely one to watch.

God Came ‘Round

‘I required love’ is, and always will be a popular topic to explore within film, and all media as it is one that resonates with most audiences and one that is fraught with emotion but also often a ridiculousness that in hindsight is hilarious.

This is what we see in this film. A look at unrequited affection and how it manifests itself. The loneliness and the sadness that you often feel when life is happening, ridiculous things that you need to share, but have no one to share them with because they won’t pick up the phone.

This film deals with this topic in a satire, almost slapstick style which gives it an ‘easy’ air and makes it an enjoyable watch, yet at its core is still this unrelenting truth and sadness.

The body of the film is structured around a song, which adds to the juxtaposing uplifting feeling of the film, despite the content. The over riding musical element means that the cast have no dialogue, yet the emotion is still evident throughout which is a testament to both the acting talent and the direction. Being able portray a character effectively with no words is no mean feat, but it is one that is achieved in this short film.

The FX in the film are obviously cheap and cheerful, but this is the whole point and it adds to the B movie farce like elements of the film which off set the trauma well. The camera work is well executed shooting POV shots from the height of the lead. It results in the rest of the cast looking down on him which is often how unrequited affections feel.

Overall a well executed film that makes light of an emotional issue without losing respect for it.

Soft Sun

There is something about making a film without dialogue that makes the feat of producing a clear and coherent film all the more impressive. Whilst many directors and producers use this trope as a form of self flagellation and a way to show off their artistry, usually unsuccessfully, every now and then a film comes along where the silence is part of the narrative, a natural part of the film that emphasises story rather than the directors chops.

Soft Sun is one of those films. There is no need for dialogue here as everything is dealt with by metaphor and subtext. The vastness of the rugged terrain that surrounds them and their actions and facial expressions are all that are needed to portray the drama and emotion within this story, and there is emotion and tension in bucket loads.

The soundtrack also Aidan in setting the tone and atmosphere of the scene and is used skilfully to give each scene the gravitas and atmosphere that it needs. Often in films without dialogue, music is what drives the scenes in terms of auditory stimulation, and that makes the choice of music much more important. In the film it is done impeccably.

Soft Sun is a great example of dialogue free filming that utilises setting, strong physical acting and music to create atmosphere, tension and emotion.

New Heaven and New Earth

This film is an interesting take on the kid of religious film that most of us experienced at school. Whilst for many of us, this may bring back feelings if boredom or monotony, that is far from what this film provides. It is a unique and diverse representation of religious text and messages presented in a variety of methods.

From the outset, we are presented with drama and something that is far from what we may expect from a religious, educational and message driven film. The pain and suffering portrayed are obvious and penetrating, with some no holes barred performances.

From here we are transported to a completely different world presented in anime. This is a wonderfully animated version of the story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden with a typically anime take that adds a wealth of entertainment to the story.

This film utilises. Number of mediums to present its message and it’s through this variety that those messages stick. From pure drama, to anime, to interpretive dance and the final ‘big number’ of the tropes of other forms of entertainment are molders into one to make a memorable and unique experience for the audience. It certainly isn’t what you would expect at Sunday school.

Well edited and constructed, this a an impressive feat and one of the most entertaining religious films tha tthis reviewer has seen in a while.

Waiting Room

This short reminded me of the 90s film The Hand That Rockes the Cradle, in that it had that same disturbing, simmering intensity. The pace is slow, yet your heartbeat quickens as the film moves forward.

What works so well in this film is its unassuming nature. There is no real lead up, no foreshadowing or set up. It remains relaxed in its presentation and allows the audience to slowly piece together what’s happening. The music and the whole ambience of the film juxtaposes well with the actual plot and is filled to the brim with tension.

The lead actress, Ita Korenzecher, does a magnificent job of delivering a performance that is understated yet truly chilling. Her calm, matter of fact manner is what delivers the most tension within the film and it is done expertly. Utterly cold and pretty terrifying by the conclusion.

The dialogue is intimidating and threatening but not insulated. Way that is up front or in your face. There is a glorious use of subtext within the lines that provides the audience with that unknowing terror that comes with not being able to predict someone’s actions. Because the lead has such a good poker face, no one knows where this is going to go next and that’s what keeps the audience glued to the film.

A wonderful example of tense, subliminal drama that is a shining example of how to make an edge of your seat film that isn’t over the top.

What is Real

There are endless short films out there that deal with the paranormal. There are endless feature films that deal with the paranormal. The majority are either horror/thrillers or satire, yet every now and then a charming little film comes through that is neither. Here we have one of those films.

This short isn’t horror, and it isn’t satire. It’s more drama with a hint of lightness. It’s simple yet effective style works well and it doesn’t go over the top. In fact, despite its paranormal leanings the occurrences feel almost normal because they are so understated, at least at the beginning.

This film never ventures into territory that it shouldn’t. It doesn’t suddenly turn into a horror or a thriller. The ending is as understated as the rest of the film giving it an almost open feel, that leaves the audience thinking and providing an opportunity for their own interpretation.

The lead gives a strong performance, given that he is acting against nothing for the majority of the film. The fun is well constructed and presented, with a score that keeps the mood light. An enjoyable and interesting short film.