Pages

Sunday, June 14, 2015

"Simple Mind" Thriller Plays The Audience With Disturbing Results

"SIMPLE MIND" (2012)
Genre: Thriller
Length- 7:22
Company: N/A

Bob (Timothy J. Cox) is in love with a woman named Samantha (Kristi McCarson) . . . the only problem is that she doesn't return the feeling.  Mainly, that's because she doesn't appear to know he exists.  But that's just one of his problems.

And a far worse problem for Samantha . . .

I'M WATCHING YOU

"Simple Mind" is a short thriller from writer/director Phil Newsome and editor Paul Nameck, who filmed it for next to nothing.  Minimalism is, smartly, the name of the game here: we have two characters, a handful of locations, and a very contained storyline.

The beginning of the film unfolds in a very familiar way -- there's no shortage of films puporting to be "thrillers" which portray stalking characters and what they do to their hapless victims.  This, in fact, is the only real flaw in "Simple Mind" in terms of storyline: we've been there, done that, over and over and over.

The appeal to "Simple Mind" is the way in which its visuals lead you by the hand and make you think you know what's going on, when the reality is so much deeper and honestly, more sad and disturbing than the simple pay off we're expecting.

I can't say much more than that without spoiling anything, but suffice it to say that if you stick with the film (and it's only seven minutes long, so there's no excuse for not giving it a chance) you will be pleasantly surprised and experience a short, no budget film that will affect you.

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 3 / 5.  The first half of the film comes off as cliched and in far too familiar territory to be very entertaining.  The last half, and in particular the conclusion, turns around your opinion of the preceding three and a half minutes.
Directing: 3.5 / 5.  Nothing special on display for the most part -- there's some Go Pro style camera work going on here and there that gives a much needed immediacy to certain shots.  Also, the shot of the garbage bag on the ground was inspired.  You don't see what's in it, but you see the shape of it, and when you do, you recoil.
Editing: 3 / 5.  Transitions work well, and the pacing is solid despite the rather stock events going on in the first half.
Sound/Music: 2.5 / 5.  The sound recording's poor, but the score, by Keith Campbell and Jeremy "Tha Germ" Gonzalez gives the film some punch.  It's not groundbreaking by any means, but it gets the job done.
Acting: 4 / 5. Cox deserves special mention for his grounded performance.  His role could have easily skyrocketed over-the-top, but he reeled it in, and it was definitely the right decision.  McCarson, in the final scenes, is pitch perfect and it's her voice of reason that creates a sense of reality despite the madness we see on screen.

Final Grade: 3.2 / 5.

You can watch "Simple Mind" on YouTube right now, and you should -- it's a perfect example of a no budget short film that gets it right.

When you get done watching, then check out my review of "Mallas, MA" which also features Timothy J. Cox in a lead role!



Thanks for reading! I'm a screenwriter and script consultant. Most recently, I've worked with LMC Productions and Mad Antz Films in Australia. I helped mold Goodybag Productions' award winning screenplay "The Teacher" and Michael Maguire's feature length script "The Wolfpack", which is still in development.

Check out my blog and let's get in touch!