Short Film Review: Night of Natalie

Directed by Tori Pope and shot by Douglas Burgdorff, Night of Natalie is a 13-minute short drama, set in the small town of Sugarloaf, California, near the mountains of Big Bear. The story centres on the strange phenomenon that Natalie (Catherine Parker) encounters, after a fight with her artist boyfriend Jeff (Jeffery A. Baker) leaves her alone and distraught on the streets.

A perfect evening turns into a frenzied nightmare. The deceptively simple premise proves enthralling with its masterfully crafted enigma. Stylistic and surreal, Night of Natalie continually draws us in with mounting intensity, towards the dark ambient mystery at its core.

Adept sound design contributes most to the paranoid atmosphere, reminiscent of recent genre gem Coherence. This is backed with a distinct visual style and strong performances, especially from Catherine Parker’s imperilled lead.

All falls into place for the mind-bender that ends sooner than I would have loved. Nevertheless, this original short film is worth every second of your time – for a glimpse into the brilliant potential of a very promising young filmmaker.

Pope has directed nine other short films and seven fashion shorts. Her next project will be a collaboration with the young writer-director of Troma’s B.C. Butcher, Kansas Bowling. For updates, be sure to follow Pope on Vimeo.

Special thanks to Tori Pope for sharing her short film with me.

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