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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Straight Up Creepy Horror Short Film "Monsters in the Dark" Brings The Bears Out of the Woods

"MONSTERS IN THE DARK" (2015)
Genre: Horror
Length- 16:37
Company:  Mordue Pictures

Karen (Francesca-Louise White) is in a bind and is forced to call her ex, Jamie (Jamie Satterthwaite) for a ride home.  One their way back, they drive past a young woman wearing a bizarre bear mask (Cheryl Burniston), and they stop to get a sense of the situation.

So they all share their feelings and do a group hug and everybody goes home happy, right?

Hmm . . .

GENRE EXPECTATIONS

Mordue Pictures is responsible for "The Reaper", a pretty thoughtful thriller film we reviewed last year, so I was interested to see what they did with the horror genre -- and sure enough, we have a flick that's a bit different from your basic slasher picture.  Written, directed and edited by Luke Mordue, who obviously has done his horror movie homework, we have a nightmare caught on film, and by and large, it works surprisingly well.

While it's a little slow at the beginning, it starts to build up steam around a quarter of the way through and really doesn't let up from then on.  Thanks to a good use of screen space to manipulate the viewer's eye, a variety of shots and camera movement, his visual style succeeds in knocking our perspective off balance and creating tension where, otherwise, there might be none.  The masks are pretty creepy too, and that doesn't hurt, either.

Add to that the fact that we have some pretty good fight choreography from Burniston, and we wind up with an effective little horror movie with a chilling finale.

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 2.5 / 5.  Mordue uses the audience's grasp of horror movie mechanics to the fullest, but he also plays it a little too safe at times -- why would Jamie get out of the car, for instance?  That character move was a little unbelievable.
Directing: 3 / 5.  A good show from Mordue gives us plenty of reasons to feel off-kilter before the real horror even shows up, and once it does, we're suitably weirded out to go along for the ride.
Editing: 3.5 / 5.  Once the pacing hits its stride, we're good for the rest of the film.  The beginning, as I said, is a little slow.
Sound/Music: 3 / 5.  Creepy, low-tech ambient tracks and an interesting crooner-type post-punk song at the beginning.  The dialogue is recorded at the pro level as well, and that never hurts.
Acting: 3.5 / 5.  Good enough performances, with Francesca-Louise White being the non-bear stand out.

Final Grade: 3.1 / 5. 

Don't forget to check out "Monsters in the Dark" and follow the creators on Facebook!



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!