Portrait of God
Director: Dylan Clark
This tiny piece of golden cinema is the best movie I could find this week to start of 2023 with, originally released 4 months ago, it’s causing a storm in the world of shorts. A young woman is running through a thesis, a presentation about what God might look like, after showing a painting to a few subjects they describe their experience with the painting, after listening to these vivid descriptions the girl has her own “religious” experience.
There’s a pivotal point in Takashi Annô’s Anime film Dark Myth where a researcher finds a pool that will grant her everlasting life, she climbs in and returns as a hairy bug eyed monster, the lesson, out human bodies can’t go on forever so it has to transform you into a creature that “can” live forever, be careful what you wish for. There is a similar analogy playing out here, we want to see god in the naive belief that it will be a hugely positive and beautiful event but there’s the potential that it’s something so alien to us, that the event might be scary and unending. A glimpse of eternity is still an eternity right?
Clark manages to conjure up a visual nightmare that is chilling as well as deeply profound. The artistic lighting of each scene and unwillingness to set character in the center of any frame, the uneven and beautifully placed cameras really spark an emotion and give the film a natural feel. But if you really want to “get” everything about this film, much like the tricks used in other classics such as Hereditary you might need to turn the brightness up and check out for delightful extras.
Not only is it a super brave subject to approach, questioning and assuming to depict the face of god will upset others and intrigue a few more but to also make it supernatural and creepy is so gnostic and exactly what the horror community needs to work with more judging by the results of this frightful short.
Director : Joe Russell
There are some big names in his project so with professional actors and what looks to be a great filming and effects budget etc involved I feel I can only comment on the originality of the project and the narrative. And there’s still a lot going on here. A doctor searches for a missing patient, discovering that he’s been stolen by a research department to test to see if they can capture the human soul after death with life changing results and many questions.
The movie is a great introduction to a neat concept that could be taken further and with some luck I can easily see this being a full length movie but it seems to have some pretty good backing and i live in hope as the end creature and effort put into the effects tied with this spiritual concept deserve further exploration especially as some crazy Giger/Cenobite characters turn up and throw some mess into the mix.
Director : Nick Vago
The note from the director is that his learning experience was created with little to no money. I am even more impressed with the results of this “experience”. A man struggles to deal with life after he accidentally caused a death through drunk driving. Trying to find some redemption and peace he starts his journey via the help of a “shamen” and discovers something in the darkness.
There’s a lot of merit to this film, the filming is very professional, the acting is good and I love how it deals with the constant torment of one person after a tragic accident, the poor chap is going through a waking nightmare instead of living the best life, I felt the pacing died a little after the shamen and his breathing session, I don’t really know if the guy was s shamen or not but you’ll know who I’m referring to once you see it, on top of this. The ending felt a bit of a missed trick shot, but it’s not what you’d expect and that’s a blessing that Vago isn’t just playing by the rules.
The Eldritch Dreams
Director: Danny Takacs
It won’t come as a shocker that this Cosmic Horror is HPL influenced, and Takas manages to pull the more frightful aspects together for a creepy atmospheric horror.Usually HPL’s work is hard to translate from the pages of insanity to the silver screen, however it’s generally the smaller films and most dedicated directors who successfully manage to make it work and this is a winner winner chicken dinner!
A woman discovers a hidden chest in her fireplace, lurking inside is a journal filled with insane symbols and a figure of Cthulhu (unknown to her) that night she has vivid dreams of unknown realms and becomes obsessed with the journal. Psychically creeping closer to the realm until she begins to get night time visitors, but like all the characters who get confided in this mythos, how do you fight back or escape.
The “other realm” is beautifully crafted and there’s a quaint twist at the end so stick around even if you think it’s not action packed, it does pack a punch.
Sound from the Deep
Director: Joonas Allonen & Antti Laakso
This delightful Finnish piece is similar to a lot of underwater Creepy Pastas with HPL overtones. International researchers discover a strange sound deep within the Arctic Ocean, much like John Carpenter’s The Thing, they soon discover the strange truth isn’t natural gas but something more sinister.
It feels very clinical and it’s a slow burner at just shy of half an hour but much like the previous film The Eldritch Dreams by Danny Takacs and any other HPL story, insanity takes over as people are pulled into another chaotic realm. The pace picks up, shaky cam starts to take over as the crew dash about their ship hoping for salvation and there’s a huge flourish finale to look forwards too.
Overall really great work with a ton of tentacles to tantalize.
Hopefully you enjoyed this week’s list, if there are any short movies that you can recommend please let me know.
You can find a list of all my Short Movie Roundup’s here.