Familiar Movie Review
Written by Sharon Davies
Written and directed by Richard Powell
23 minutes, Not rated
Robert Nolan as John
Astrida Auza as Charlotte
Cathryn Hostick as daughter
"The world is asleep, dreaming, peaceful, safe. These are the hours I love, when all that I hate is asleep" speaks the antagonist of this short film from Fatal pictures.
Meet John — he seems upset, and not just on account of his bad choice of ties. His inner monologue seems to describe his life as a prison, trapped in a loveless marriage and with a "parasitic" child he is literally counting down the months till his daughter leaves for college and he can finally live.
What grand plans does John have? Travel to Rio? Join the Playboy bunny ranch? Change his name to Susan and start wearing floral outfits? No, none of that, a truck and the road ahead will suffice (and fingers crossed a haircut) but as luck would have it life now deals him a new hand - the stork is on its way with a bundle of joy for the family.
With his wife delighted and his situation worsening, John decides that drastic measures must be taken and the pregnancy has to go. But even after this little problem has been disposed of, John’s situation seems to get worse for him. With his wife now depressed to the point of being bedridden and her wide crystal eyes begging him to try again for another baby, our non-hero decides upon a new course of action.
At this point in the intriguing short John’s inner commentary, which superbly dominates the whole 23 minutes, points to murderous conclusions. Will he become the next Ted Bundy and go on a murderous rampage?
Oh no. There is a much bigger surprise afoot. One which begins to rear its ugly one-eyed face and which John will bring to a gory conclusion. I shan’t spoil the ending for you as I was pleasantly surprised by it, but let’s just say that a sharpened Stanley knife is always a handy addition to a toolbox.
Throughout this film, the main character’s inner voice dominates most of the script and it works well to give the viewer a personal perspective of John's thinking. Recorded separately to the shoot, this allows the creator to crisply present the eerie soundtrack. There's no real music score to speak of, and with overbearing commentary flushed with deafening silences the audio brings significant character to the piece.
The camerawork and clarity of picture are impeccable and simply enforce the feeling of dread, allowing the viewer to feel a little too close to John and his thoughts. The colour is greyed out when looking at his wife or home (although a well placed grey-jumpered wife does well to imply the mundane and tiresome nature of his family) which then renders the deep red splatter of gushing blood even more intense
I genuinely think this short is really impressive. Having not been exposed to too many of these productions, I wasn’t sure what on earth I could expect in under half an hour and with a limited budget. But it packs it all in really neatly and quickly builds tension extremely well. The budget has definitely been spent in the right areas and with one of the most jaw dropping effects splattering onto the stage in the finale I want to shake the hand of the production team that created such gore on a shoestring.
The superb acting from Nolan, coupled with a genuinely creepy and wonderfully executed bloody final 5 minutes, makes a thoroughly enjoyable , well-spent 23 mins. With this in mind I therefore give this a beautifully manicured and animated thumbs up.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was an online viewing.