The Beast and They Watch Short Films Review
Written by John Colianni
Written and directed by Peter Dukes
The Beast: 2012, 12 minutes, Not Rated
They Watch: 2009, 10 minutes, Not Rated
Bill Oberst Jr. (The Beast)
Peter Le Bas (The Beast)
Alexander Le Bas (The Beast)
Greg Travis (They Watch)
John Michael Herndon (They Watch)
Katharine Stapleton (They Watch)
Sylvia Panacione (They Watch)
I'd like to start off by saying that I love short films. In many respects, a well scripted, cast and directed short is more satisfying and entertaining that any full length feature can hope to be. Sure, the majority of us (myself included) can't even name an amazing short flick that they consider to be their favorite, but that doesn't mean they don't leave the same impact on a genre as particular as horror. Honestly, watching something that is condensed provides my impatient ass with instant gratification, so in roughly eight to 15 minutes I can be back on my way to trolling the Nickelodeon chat rooms, telling kids that Santa doesn't exist. Doing more with less is pretty goddamn admirable if you ask me.
With all of that said, I had the pleasure of watching a couple of short films by director Peter Dukes. The first, titled The Beast, is about a father, son, and uncle who are standing on the countryside awaiting the approach of the full moon. Apparently, every cycle they come out here and tie Jacob (the boy) to a tree and wait for his transformation from man to beast and back again. With only a few minutes under its belt, The Beast conveys a unique narrative that sub genre fans will be sure to appreciate. Being set in another country (maybe Scotland or Ireland? I suck at geography) adds to old school feel. Either that or it's a normal occurrence for teens to turn into hairy creatures in that part of the world. Puberty can be a bitch. There’s a fun twist ending if you decide to not be an asshat and actually watch the entire thing.
The other film that I checked out was They Watch, which has a much more abstract feel to it. A man lays on his dead bed being attended to by his wife and gets a visitor that he is not at all surprised to see. The visitor is there to make sure that certain information is not disclosed before the man passes away. Filmed in black and white, the setting of They Watch never leaves a single room but instantly makes you wonder what could have gone on between these characters that could form so much tension for a dying man. A few devices don't exactly fit with the story so well, but that doesn't take away from an original idea. Like the last short, there's an interesting ending, but it's much move vague and that takes away from things a bit. I don't see the point of making a short that open-ended unless there is a sequel planned. I supposed time will tell.
From what I've seen so far, Peter Dukes has the ability to tell amazing stories that take just minutes of your time while leaving you wanting more. His willingness to cross over different genres is sure to appease horror lovers across the spectrum. That's the beauty about writing and directing shorts. Some directors of the horror that we love get trapped into creating a certain kind of film each time because that's what is expected of them. When a director's artwork happens to be less lengthy than a YouTube compilation of screaming goats (yes this exists), it leaves them with the opportunity to move quickly from werewolves to dark, kept secrets to whatever else they think up. If your daily routine of watching cats scream “NO!” or listening to why George Lucas is indeed the anti-Christ has come to a screeching halt, please do not hesitate to look up these awesome shorts and anything else Peter Dukes has his hands into. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
[Editor's note: You can find these shorts and more on Dream Seekers Productions official YouTube channel.]
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.