Archive for Short Film

Pandora: A Short Film Review (2016)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 26, 2016 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

With horror in 2016 being rather underwhelming so far its always refreshing to see what the indie scene has to offer. Short films are just as much a prominent part of the horror genre as the features, particularly for fans who enjoy attending festivals where there’s a wide range of them to view. Incorporating a limited time frame and smaller budgets, filmmakers are provided with an opportunity to produce effective scares and make the best out of the resources they have.

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Pandora is a supernatural short film from Scottish director Drew Mewse and available to view on youtube. Shot on a 6D DSLR camera Mewse’s cinematography is sharp and of a professional standard. The whole production is polished and impressive work for such a small crew in which Mewse takes the reigns as writer, director, cinematographer, producer and editor along with a cast of five actors accompanied by a haunting score provided by co-writer and also executive producer Ali Campbell.

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The tone is solemn and bleak which is complimented by the dark lighting and eeriness captured by its location of the traditional, gothic house. Pandora weaves in themes of jealousy and paranoia during it’s twelve minute run time. Susie (Susan Leiper) discovers incriminating photographs of her boyfriend Andy (Andy Noble) pictured with a mysterious woman (Erin Sykes). Andy shockingly claims that he isn’t in the photos at all questioning Susie’s mental state with the added dimension of something paranormal at play. Susie is shown opening the box signifying the idea of discovering something that could shatter her relationship in the long-term. Pandora capitalizes on a sense of real horror, the idea of finding out something negatively life changing, acting as a threat towards familiar ideals and values. Pandora is clearly influenced by Japanese supernatural horror, building up a slow burning sense of dread without relying on loud noises or cheap jump scares in order to garner a reaction. Pandora has an intrigue surrounding it which has potential for broader storytelling within a feature format.

A strong offering from Mewse with universal fears and concepts at the centre. Pandora is also an example of what can be achieved with accessible technology nowadays.

Watch Pandora below:

 

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews. 

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Damnationland 2014: Tickle (Bonfire Films).

Posted in Horror Attractions, Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

On October 17th, the Damnationland Horror Festival located in Maine returns for its fifth fright-tastic year showcasing a selection of innovative and unusual short films. Screening at the State Theatre in Portland, Damnationland’s fifth year will present festival-goers with six shocking shorts on offer. One of those short film’s titled Tickle,comes from awesome, independent genre company Bonfire Films, led by filmmaker Corey Norman. Corey and his team launched a Kickstarter campaign back in August in order to raise funds to make this project possible which was successfully achieved. After viewing several films directed by Corey Norman including ambitious, supernatural feature The Hanover House, I truly believe in this company and admire their ability to create horror movies for true genre fans reminding us what we adore about horror.

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Written by Haley Norman, Tickle is a pure, classic throwback to one of the most exciting times in the genre, the 1980’s; when horror got gorier and anxieties in society were much more prominent. Horror movies used our every day fears as a metaphorical entity to blur the lines between reality and fantasy, Tickle brings this notion back. Part monster movie, part urban legend, Tickle is sure to supply the Damnationland audience with equal amounts of laughs and scares. Haley’s script captures a piece of nostalgia as the tale of the babysitter, a young boy and a scary bedtime story unfolds on screen. Casey Turner (Shannon in The Hanover House) takes on a fun role as Trudy, the semi-responsible babysitter who doesn’t let Charlie (Andrew Lyndaker) stay up and watch scary movies but allows his imagination to run wild with a chilling story about TicTac the Tickle Monster! Turner relishes in a charismatic performance while young Lyndaker is excellent for a young performer and proves he has heaps of potential as an actor. The energetic pop-style score provides the film with a feel for the time period its set in.

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Tickle begins with a light-hearted tone, its tongue is placed firmly in its cheek which creates a well-paced build up for the dark shift in approach the short later takes. Without giving away too much, the make-up and visual effects are done exceptionally well. Its skilfully shot with flawless cinematography that captures the essence of its Halloween night setting.

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Tickle has fun with the codes and conventions of a traditional 80’s slasher and knows exactly what its going for. Its self-referential, look out for the nod to last year’s Damnationland entry, Natal (2013). Damnationland’s slogan indicates that this is the way life should bleed but this year its all about the way life should Tickle!

For more information on Damnationland’s schedule and general info visit: http://www.damnationland.com/films/

Check out the official festival trailer here:

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

 

The Short Films of Dreamseekers Productions: Daniel (2014).

Posted in The Short Films of Dream Seekers with tags , , , , , on July 16, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

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Daniel (2014) is the latest and most ambitious short yet from Dreamseekers Productions. Released this summer, Daniel is an ambiguous piece about a young boy (Jake Ryan Scott) hiding away in a closet from some thuggish intruders, but not everything is what it seems as Peter Dukes and his team once again surprise the audience with a disturbing twist that proves effective. Despite having the shortest run-time of 3:10 minutes, including credits and fade transitions, Daniel immediately draws the viewer in with a sense of intimidation in the atmosphere, providing plenty of intrigue as to what’s going on.

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The run-time also means that the scare factor comes about fierce and  fast, leaving it long lasting in the mind. In terms of the colours and lighting used within the piece it echo’s a homage to the giallo sub-genre with bold reds and yellows adding to the tension. Each performance in the film is played well and convincingly for such a short time. The most prominent factor of the film is the role of the Quija board, bringing in extra creepiness, transforming the film from what seems like a home invasion to something far more insidious. Daniel is cleverly crafted as it manages to keep viewers engaged while bringing us in during the middle of the action, there is definitely feature film material at play here. Dreamseekers once again deserve a massive congratulations for creating yet another, interesting and inventive short.

You can watch Daniel (2014), via this Youtube link:

For more info on Dreamseekers Productions, visit:

http://www.dreamseekersprods.com
http://www.facebook.com/dreamseekersproductions
http://www.twitter.com/dreamseekerfans

Check out  my previous reviews of Dreamseekers Short Films:

Little Reaper (2013)

The Beast (2012)

A Goblin’s Tale (2011)

The New World (2010)

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

The Short Films of DreamSeekers Productions: The New World (2010): WiHM2014 Special.

Posted in The Short Films of Dream Seekers with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Welcome back to the monthly reviews of The Short Films of Dreamseekers Productions exclusively on Hayley’s Horror Reviews. While not strictly a horror short, The New World does deal with notions of the magical and fantastical which is closely linked to the genre. The production company present a versatile and strong female led piece that fits in perfectly with February’s Women in Horror Recognition Month’s celebrations. 

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The New World (2010) was more of an experimental film for Dreamseekers Productions. In this offering, Peter Dukes and his team use the fantasy genre wonderfully to present a captivating visual tale of a wandering fairy (Katy Townsend) enchanted with the human world. The New World truly embodies the power of film as it returns to the silent era, taking it’s viewers on a breathtaking journey of imagery and music. The narrative itself most definitely has a Hans Christian Anderson vibe to it, taking inspiration from the classic fairytale The Little Mermaid (story:1837) featuring a mythical creature discovering a whole new life in which she longs to be part of. Through the POV of the fairy she sees the human world as idyllic and connected, aspiring to belong there. She sees the beauty of the earth that most humans take for granted as everything but her remains still. This evokes notions of not seeing the reality of the true world but also slowing down for a moment in order to appreciate what’s around us. Following a visit to the Fairy Queen (Elyse Ashton) her wish is granted. The short then takes a more ambiguous turn incorporating an intriguing ending which speaks volumes without having to use any dialogue.

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The fairy herself is a determined creature, she knows what she wants and takes action in order to fulfill her wishes. Through giving up a world of magic for an ordinary life she demonstrates that she is aware there is much more out there to explore. Her costume is also another interesting aspect to the film as she displays an earthy look complimented with gothic fashion that could belong in a female-fronted rock band. Other than the narrative, The New World is a film that relishes in its cinematography and embraces it’s stunning locations, notably the beautiful forest. Cinematography is one of Dreamseekers strengths and they certainly take advantage of their surroundings in this instance. The blue lighting used in the fairy world among the trees is nicely done and proves effective, enhancing the mystical elements of the short. Katy Townsend carries the film purely through expression conveying the fairy’s sense of wonder throughout, its an interesting role from an acting perspective in that sense by not working from a dialogue heavy script. Mesmerizing and compelling, using pleasant, dream-like non-diegetic music to compliment its visuals, The New World is another quality and creative short film from Dukes’s company.

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

The Short Films of DreamSeekers Productions: A Goblin’s Tale (2011)

Posted in The Short Films of Dream Seekers with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

A Goblin’s Tale was a 2011 offering from Dreamseekers Productions, again directed by Peter Dukes. Even though the short isn’t a direct horror film and slots itself more in the fantasy genre it still incorporates a creepy tone that’s enough to unsettle the viewer. With a minimal setting consisting of a dimly lit living room, A Goblin’s Tale is the story of a young girl (played by Tiffany Giardina) who’s world becomes turned upside down when a menacing goblin named Vix (played by Laura Kearsey) emerges from the pages of her  dusty fairytale book into reality. The short isn’t as straightforward as that as Dukes incorporates an intelligent, post-modern twist that most certainly challenges expectations, making the film very worth-while.

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Kearsey is eerie as the devilish little goblin and gives a standout performance. Her depiction of Vix is slightly reminiscent of Dobby the Elf from the Harry Potter series (2001-2011) and Rumpelstiltskin from ABC’s Once Upon a Time (2011-) among others. For a low-budget short the creature make up is done exceptionally well, producing a strong mythical air to the film. It’s an example of what Dreamseekers do best, using their resources as best as they can to create some fascinating and intriguing visual  stories. Tiffany Giardina’s role as the confused young woman compliments and contrasts Kearsey’s Goblin, being a two-hander both actresses carry the film and keep the viewer engaged for its brief ten minute duration. A Goblin’s Tale has a strong structure and delivers perfectly what any short film intends to do.

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With some clever effects and mesmerizing cinematography in place, particularly the shots of the fairytale book pages. The images that are included illustrate a mystical and folklore-esque context which establishes what A Goblin’s Tale ultimately sets out to do. There is a stunning score that runs throughout that forms a magical feel to the piece and comes across as very atmospheric. A Goblin’s Tale remains appealing to fans of horror while also being a film that has something for everyone and holds suitability for younger audiences.

A Goblin’s Tale is yet another example of the quality and broad work created by this independent film company.

Dreamseekers Productions Official Website.

The Film is available to view here:

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

The Short Films of DreamSeekers Productions: The Beast (2012)

Posted in The Short Films of Dream Seekers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 23, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

In 2012 Dream Seekers Productions created The Beast, a short that brings in aspects of the classic monster movie with added depth. The werewolf element is in place as a metaphor to demonstrate a father’s internal struggle as his teenage son is cursed with the mark of the beast! The only similarities The Beast shares with Dream Seeker’s most recent short Little Reaper (2013) is the theme of parental conflict as they come to terms with their children’s transition from childhood to adulthood, focusing on those awkward in-between years. However, this is where the similarities end as The Beast couldn’t be further from Little Reaper in terms of tone. Taking a more serious edge, The Beast captures the heightened emotion of a father facing the struggle between protecting his son and doing what’s right for the rest of humanity. Rather than taking the comedic route, the film incorporates strong, dramatic performances that sets the film apart from others of a similar vein.

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Rising cult star, Bill Oberst Jr. plays the principal role of the father Michel, he brings in an emotive and heart-wrenching performance, mainly through expression as he displays his character’s plight. The close-up shots are used to convey this well while heightening the intensity of the situation. We learn that Michel’s son Jacob (Alexander Le Bas) has in fact killed, which is cleverly used as a metaphor that says despite what mistakes children make, to their parents they’ll always be their children no matter what. Alexander Le Bas plays the two sides to Jacob exceptionally well, there is a sense of conflict in place and the impression that he is able to pull on his father’s heartstrings in order to gain what he wants. Knowing Michel feels a sense of responsibility and guilt, he encourages him to untie him as the full moon is about to kick in so he can “relieve himself”. His manipulative nature demonstrates how the monster has taken over. The voice of reason comes in the form of Douglas (Peter Le Bas) who insists Michel does the right thing for his son, adding in the pressure in what’s already an intense situation.

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With a minimal setting of the woods, The Beast uses this to its advantage to create high tension throughout its thirteen minute run-time. It’s setting along with the beautifully-composed music also provides a fairy-tale quality to it. There is convincing and well-developed characters in there that have the potential to be explored further. With expectations of a possible transformation scene, the short interestingly diverts from doing so, ensuring the werewolf element isn’t the main focus over the emotions of the characters. Instead, sound is used to bring in a sense of dread as the wolf’s blood-curdling howl is heard. Other than the strength of the sound, the cinematography is absolutely flawless and breathtaking with shots of the full moon acting as a warning for what’s to come. With a story that could go either way, the ending proves satisfying. Despite the unoriginality of the story itself the film manages to establish the idea of a changing relationship between parent and child and how they come to terms with it, accompanied with dramatic and thrilling horror.

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According to IMDB, Peter Dukes is set to direct a feature with the same title for 2014, with the premise of “A young woman and some friends go on a road trip through the California backwoods in search of her missing brother and are kidnapped in a village that keeps a monster hidden away.” Scream Queen Jessica Cameron is billed as the top role which makes this film a must-see. Peter confirmed that it is in fact not a continuation to his 2012 short and the werewolf theme and title is purely coincidental. However there is already proof that Dukes has the potential to create one hell of a werewolf flick!

Watch The Beast Here:

Hayley Alice Roberts.

The Short Films of Dream Seekers Productions: Little Reaper (2013).

Posted in The Short Films of Dream Seekers with tags , , , , , , , on November 24, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Dream Seekers Productions is the brainchild of brother and sister team Peter and Aubery Dukes. Together they have brought to life some innovative and eclectic short  genre films. Their main goal is to create films that will appeal  to and be appreciated by a more niche audience, the kind of films that under-appreciated on the whole within the vast industry that is film production.

obj106geo132shd8pg1p29Hayley’s Horror Reviews has had the pleasure in viewing a few of the short’s that Dream Seekers had to offer and will give an overview of what to expect from this quirky yet ambitious film company by presenting monthly reviews of one of their short films. Dream Seekers certainly have a lot of promise ahead of them with their strong storytelling, interesting visuals and slick editing and cinematography.

Little Reaper (2013).

  • Directed By Peter Dukes.

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Little Reaper is Dream Seekers latest short film. It’s an endearing and frequently funny look at a difficult father/daughter relationship under the backdrop of some well-known horror mythology. Grim Reaper is having trouble getting his only child, the typically teenaged Little Reaper to listen to him and take her responsibilities seriously. Little Reaper is the only one who can eventually take on her father’s duties but has other things on her mind such as trying to get in with the popular, cool Banshees, chatting on her phone and going to the dance with her boyfriend, much to Grim’s dismay and frustration. When grounding her doesn’t work, Grim passes on his role to her for one day where she will be expected to collect the souls of those who will pass on into the next life, in an attempt to teach her a lesson.

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After being handed the monotonous task, Little Reaper doesn’t quite play by the rules which leads to ultimate chaos! Taking a simplistic story, Little Reaper makes a commentary of the breakdown in communication between parents and children, highlighting the difficulties of the teenage years. Through incorporating the reaper lore as a metaphor, it brings in a comedic effect that is cleverly translated on screen. The entire film is shot in black and white which gives it a stylistic yet gothic tone. The cinematography is flawless and the editing is sharp which works perfectly when transitioning between the constantly funny dialogue.

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Athena Baumeister in the lead role is one to watch, with a charming screen presence she carries the film well, John Paul Ouvrier as Reaper plays his part straight as the strict father type which results in hilarity. Guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, there is nothing not to like about Little Reaper. For being adorable, good-humored and entertaining, I’d go as far as saying this has to be one of my favorite short films of 2013.

View Little Reaper Here:

Dream Seekers Productions Info:

www.dreamseekersprods.com
www.facebook.com/dreamseekersproductions
www.twitter.com/dreamseekerfans

Keep Your Eyeballs Peeled my Gore Freaks as more Dream Seekers Short Reviews are on the horizon!

Hayley Alice Roberts.