Archive for British Horror Film

Silently Within Your Shadow (2015) Short Review

Posted in Short Scares with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

When it comes to horror movies, the ‘creepy doll’ is a staple and frequently revisited trope. There’s the menacing madness to the likes of Chucky and his subsidiary counterparts in Dolls (1987), PuppetMaster (1989), Dolly Dearest (1991) and Demonic Toys (1992). The concept made a spooky return in horror movies during the 2000’s as well as this decade in the form of Billy the Puppet from SAW (2004-2010), Annabelle from The Conjuring (2013) and of course Billy the ventriloquist dummy from James Wan’s Dead Silence (2007). In the latter mentioned films the position of the demonic doll is used as more of a scapegoat for a greater plot rather than being a central figure.

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The Ventriloquist Dummy has always played a vital part in unnerving psychological horror from childhood fiction in Goosebumps, Night of the Living Dummy (#1.10) (1996) to Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s season one episode, The Puppet Show (#1.9) (1997).

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Indie short film director Scott Lyus of Crossroad Pictures brings the concept back to the forefront in Silently Within Your Shadow, a fifteen minute piece that centers on a young couple driven apart by an ambiguous entity.

What’s always excellent about the idea of ‘the doll’ is it’s rationally nonthreatening presence is creepy enough to trigger irrational fears and heightened emotions. This is exactly what Lyus captures in this short.

Lucette (Sophie Tergeist)  is extremely obsessed with her ventriloquist dummy, Hugo (voiced by horror icon Bill Moseley) that it begins to put strain on her relationship with her irritated but moderately patient boyfriend Jace (Byron Fernandes). But Lyus leaves his audience curious to discover whether the doll is truly alive or an illogical fixation of Lucette’s mindset.

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From a social perspective, the doll is a symbol of Lucette’s conflict between domesticity with her boyfriend and the pull of her career on stage. It’s all consuming with deadly consequences but is presented as a genuinely creepy short, supplying plenty of chills and darkness.

The production quality is a polished effort and highly professional. The cinematography and editing is of a high standard with the film achieving exactly what it needs to in it’s brief time frame. We are in the age of the rise of low budget genre filmmaking and with crowdfunding platforms and accessible technology it proves that a great deal can be reached with limited and less expensive resources.

Lyus has great potential as a horror storyteller, therefore it would be interesting to see what he could bring to a feature film.

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Silently Within Your Shadow is the kind of film that keeps you looking over your shoulder and has an atmospheric tone from the get go. It features a cult icon and believable performances from it’s two leads while engulfing a familiar but fun genre concept. What’s not to love…?

Silently Within You Shadow is available to view on Amazon Prime as of the 26th May 2017 for some late night spooktacular scares.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews. 

Brit Flick Fest 2012: “The Shadow of Death” From DeadBolt Films

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 31, 2012 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

“The Shadow of Death” (2012) is an upcoming non-budget, British slasher movie reminiscent of classic films from the 70′s and the latter part of the 90′s. “Shadow” focuses on a group of flatmates who stumble upon some woods in rural Southern-England with the incentive of meeting a dealer in order to score themselves a bit of weed. There’s also an amateur policeman lurking around on the lookout for any impending action! Little do they know there’s a mysterious killer on the loose and no one who enters the woods will be safe! The film uses the classic “urban legend” scenario adding a sense of enigma, inviting the viewer to want to uncover more. Stylistically it achieves a grindhouse and 70’s seedy horror movie feel similarly to “Last House on the Left” (1972) in terms of its editing.

Writer and director Gav Chuckie Steel has done an impressive job creating an entertaining, edge-of-the-seat horror while incorporating an old-school slasher movie style. The FX on the production are outstanding for an independent film leading to some squirm-worthy death scenes. The characters are entertaining drawing on post-modern archtypical horror victims that at times prove difficult to feel sorry for! However at the same time they could be characters encountered in real life. There’s a couple of stoners, a nerdy character, a Chuck Norris wannabe cop and a potential final girl! Tension is built up from beginning to end with some startling, creepy moments. To an extent “Shadow” could be described as “Texas Chainsaw meets Blair Witch” through being suspenseful, eerie and gory at the same time. What’s great about “Shadow” is that unlike most recent offers into the horror genre there is something edgy and raw about it, the fact that it was shot on a Panasonic SD60 camera compliments its intended “grindhouse” feel.

“The Shadow of Death” is a creative piece of independent film-making, clearly made for people who love and enjoy horror with a strong awareness of the conventions and an appreciation for the genre. The film will be premiering at “The Brit Flick Festival” (Groundlings Theatre) in Portsmouth on May 12th.

Independent movies such as this need to be supported, if your a fan of the horror genre I thoroughly recommend it.

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This review will soon be published here: http://www.theindependentvoice.org/

Hayley Alice Roberts.