Short Film Review: Tethered

Abandoned by his mother, a blind boy Solomon lives alone in the forest, abiding by his mother’s three rules of survival. He gives back to the forest that provides for them. He seeks comfort in the song they share. Above all, he never lets go of the rope that he is tethered by.

Clocking in at just around ten minutes, Tethered turns in a well-made and suspenseful horror short, much on par with a good number of full-length features. A dark cloud of foreboding drifts in place from the very start, as his mother warns of danger over her chilling recording.

Proving himself an excellent storyteller, director Dan Robinette not only shows off his eye for horror aesthetics. He has a knack for crafting the right pace, gradual but effectively so. Adept build-up sustains an ominous atmosphere in the isolated woods, reminiscent of The Blair Witch Project.

There are visual echoes of recent classic The Witch as well, treading on the familiar tone of seclusion and inexorable danger. The eventuality of Solomon’s misadventure teases, every moment he sits in solitude or hums his song of solace. It does not take long before he wanders further from the safety of his home, taking us along to find out just what exactly awaits him.

While short films tend to rely on over-exposition, Tethered ensures the right amount of revelations in its minimalist script. Clues amplify tension for what lies beyond where the rope allows. Anxiety closes in, with little relief. Brilliantly portrayed by Jared Cook, the vulnerability to Solomon has us hoping for the best, and dreading the worst.

Special thanks to Dan Robinette and 4 Leagues Media for sharing this short film with me.

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6 thoughts on “Short Film Review: Tethered

  1. I got chills all over just from seeing the trailer for this one. I loved Blair Witch myself, and can definitely see the resemblance. I had seen the Witch last year, which also was seriously amazing. It’s cool to see that a 10 minute movie can have this much of an effect. Thanks for sharing this, and ofcourse once again a wonderful post! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t agree more, It’s always amazing to see how such a short film can pack so much emotion and impact within. I just love its build-up, which was also incredibly well done in The Witch. Thanks much for dropping by, as always! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, the haunting song tells a story of its own. It reminds me of The Unquiet Grave in Penny Dreadful; it’s just so perfectly fitting. Cheers, I’m always happy to read your thoughts on these films! 😀

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  2. Jade, thank you for such a lovely and well-written review! Glad you enjoyed the short film and I’ll be in touch to let you know if it progresses further than the short medium! Tethered is currently making the rounds in select genre film festivals. Additionally, thank you to the people that read the review – I believe Jade absolutely “got” it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your brilliant film, Dan! I’m thrilled to see that more people are getting to see Tethered. It definitely deserves a bigger audience. It’d be splendid to see a feature-length version. I’d be sure to keep a lookout for more of your works! ☺️

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