Reverb, a film directed Samantha Paradise, follows the story of a young woman, Helia, getting over a seemingly harsh break-up. If that makes this sound like a touching drama, then you’d be mistaken. This is a thriller/horror in every sense of the term as Helia’s ex, nicknamed Cupcake, can’t seem to leave things be, stalking her in her own house.
Many of the shots in the film are beautifully done, the sunrise shots and the nighttime shots are some of the highlights. They really used the dynamic lighting to their advantage. The contrast from light and darkness works out very well in these scenes. That being said, many of the daytime shots could have been better. The kitchen shots and some of the living room shots have flat lighting, which leaves the shot toneless, making it harder for the actor’s emotion to fully come through in a typical shot. It’s not the biggest flaw that could happen, but it might be the most glaring in this 15 minute short.
The acting in this film is quite good, it has some flaws with delivery, but it is very good considering the majority of it is just Amy Frear. Frear lets the film rest squarely on her shoulders and does so quite well. The only other performance is from Brian Dunn, who has decent chemistry with Frear. The run-time is perfect, but the chemistry between the two could have used more time to blossom. It’s a common dilemma, let the movie run over what it should and build better relationships between characters or keep it short to the benefit of the film as a whole. The latter option did work out great here, but it could have been great to see some more interaction. Ugh, dilemma, dilemma.
The set design and costumes were great. The majority of the short has Frear in a tank top, frilly shorts and bunny slippers. It’s not laugh out loud funny, but funny in the sense that there’s a lot of chaos going on around her. The house looks like it is lived in by a young woman, which builds the realism for the film.
The short isn’t filled with unnecessary jump scares but uses sounds and music to build the tension, which is makes it scarier since the brain starts making up what possibly will happen next. The story is semi-predictable, but well done in the fifteen minute time frame. From beginning to end the short is quite good and it doesn’t dip in the 15 or so minutes. One of the biggest strengths of the film is that it feels like a snippet of Helia’s life. She clearly had done things before and the possibilities of the future are endless. This is a self contained story but the characters have a history.
Consensus: When watching short films there is never a guarantee if the 10 or so minutes is going to be good, but from the first couple of shots it is clear that Reverb is a step ahead of the run of the mill short horror film, and that’s what helps make this film succeed. It not a slam dunk, but a polished, well done film worth watching.