Short Film Review: Psycho Path

Vloggers often seek out decidedly dangerous thrills in the constant chase for views. Some perform stunts on skyscrapers, others stage elaborate ploys. Backpacking adventurer Laurel Rhodes (Abigail Wilson) finds her own special draw in going on hidden trails alone.

Trouble is eventual, and happen it does when she takes a wrong turn and ends up in a derelict cabin. Strange markings on the wall tease a malefic ritual in the making. But in face of the cold rain outside, Laurel chooses to take the risk of staying.

Directed by Dan Robinette (Tethered, Nervous Breakdown), Psycho Path promises more than just a madman in wait. The twist remains effective in his hands, even if dedicated horror connoisseurs might have an inking towards the ritual in question.

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Short Film Review: The Tattooist

It has been seventeen years since Robert Schwentke’s Tattoo, and due time that we had another proper ink-inspired horror. Clocking in at just under two minutes, The Tattooist fills the void and makes every second count.

Despite a narrative that suffers from the nature of short films, director Michael Wong designs every flash of a moment with brilliant intent and stunning precision. The experimental work sees a woman going prone for ink in ordinary tattoo parlour. Upbeat jazz puts up an inviting façade that soon takes a sharp turn into disquieting orchestration.

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Short Film Review: Nervous Breakdown

Many cases of disappearances around the world go unresolved every day. Clues often point to crime, yet answers remain indefinite when there is no body found. People are curious creatures, and interest surround these cases even over years, as evident in the proliferation of armchair detectives and their public speculations especially online.

Nervous Breakdown finds inspiration in these disappearing acts, and the more sinister speculations behind them. Set in 1983, the story’s missing person is a young woman June, whose only trace left behind was her abandoned car. Five years later, the investigators are nowhere near an explanation for her mysterious vanishing. But her twin sister Jane (Melissa Blackwell) is resolute that something supernatural had been at work that night.

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Short Film Review: Message Received

Every relationship harbours secrets, some darker than others. When blackmailed for his, James (David Chin) races against time to keep his unsuspecting wife Simone (Danni Ai) in the dark. Not a word is spoken in the ten-minute short Message Received. Rather, dialogue happens solely through an on-screen exchange of text messages.

It works. Director Stephen Herman packs all necessary detail taut in every frame of the immersive mystery, built on a compelling amount of ambiguity. James’ concurrent message threads with his unknown blackmailer and wife aggrandise the tense situation, adding friction to his fragile relationship fractured by lies.

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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.

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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.

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