Sunday, December 4, 2016

BITS '16 - Selected Short Films Reviewed

WHAT DO YOU SEE - Directors Charlie Hamilton & Zach Ramelan

Opening with a shot of a teenage girl Selena (Raven Cousens) running down a residential street as if her life depends on it; What Do You See is a short film crafted by Charlie Hamilton and Zach Ramelan that could easily be fleshed out into a full feature. Selena reaches her destination a house where she is greeted by Isaac (Austin Duffey) who sports scratches on his face that we soon learn are from their last encounter. Isaac is assistant to Elijah ( Rich Piatowski) a hypnotist who puts Selena back under to face a demon in a small space where she must obtain a special object to defeat the creature before it takes greater hold of her and crosses over to the known world.

**** Out of 4

MRS. RAFFERTY'S RED ROSES - Director Greg Kovacs

Mrs Rhonda Rafferty (Alex Graham) is watering her roses when her doorbell rings It's a Mr. White (Grieg Graham) who is going door to door to offer a special service for a very low cost. He's an assassin for hire. He will exterminate anyone anywhere at any time desired. They retire to the garden where Ms. Rafferty explains her beef, gives the name of the target, location and the small fee is paid. The final touch is settling on a  message to be delivered to the intended then the hit man performs one act readies himself humming as he leaves on his way to acquire the new target. It's a clever bit of film-making by director Greg Kovacs with a very unexpected ending.

*** 1/2 Out of 4.

SUMMONED - Director Victoria Angell

Amanda (Hope LaVelle) is seated in a circle of magic blood spattered on her white nightgown as the action starts. We discover that she had good reason to summon the demon who did what she wanted but continued beyond her expectations. Amanda is faced with two options; to yield or to play. She tries to explain that the results were not what she wanted, she only had one target in mind but the demon states that there is much sin to go around. Amanda has a critical thought then makes her decision. Director Victoria Angell presents a chilling short that locks the audience in from the sharp initial title sequence. The subject matter is serious and difficult featuring a cast that each perform physically challenging acts for their roles.

*** 1/2 Out of 4.

INGRID AND THE BLACK HOLE - Director Leah Johnston

Time Travel should you go forward or back is the question in Leah Johnston's Ingrid & The Black Hole.  Editing is the key as the narrative jumps back and forth through Ingrid and Conrad's lives. Starting when they are both 7 and treating all time as one as the action jumps to different points in their story. The music of Christopher Barnett is paramount to set the scientific astronomy/ fantasy feel of the piece.  Is she moving back and forth through time or is Ingrid an old woman suffering from deteriorating mental health who now mistakes her son John for her late Husband Conrad?

**** Out of 4

TAKING POSSESSION - Director Peter Campbell

Isaac (Martin Huss) looking for peace and quiet buys a rural Victorian Era farmhouse and is handed the keys by his realtor  Ashleigh (Jemma Robinson). He shows up with one suitcase explaining that the truck is coming Monday with more stuff. Before she departs  Ashleigh comments that there is 150 years of memories in the farmhouse. Alone he begins to hear the noises of the home before he retires to bed. Jarred awake in the middle of the night by a child's voice hauntingly similar to his daughter Bev, he heads to the basement to investigate only to discover the real reason why the house was available.

*** Out of 4.

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