♦ — post author — Immortal Alexander —♦
Immoral Alexander here with another creeptastic review.
This week I am talking about a horror short film that was sent to us from the new production company, Unmanned Media. The film is called End of the Road and it stars Daniel Van Thomas. Miss. Andromeda and I are familiar with him from his work in the zombie horror western Revelation Trail. I’ll leave a link to that review below. It also stars Tatum Langton who appeared in the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy.”
End of the Road
Betsy, a small-town waitress (Tatum), offers a warm meal to an enigmatic drifter (Van Thomas) in a rundown diner. Little does she know she’s let a vicious and calculative werewolf loose on the diner’s colorful population.
In this Little Red Riding Hood story Betsy helps a drifter by offering to buy him a meal at her local diner. The man turns into a werewolf and chaos ensures. There’s not much to spoil since the whole story is summed up in the synopsis on imdb. It’s a pretty bare bones premise and the short is only 11 min long but that does not mean there isn’t some bloody good fun to be had.
The performances were fun and entertaining. Betsy is a fairly convincing character even though she doesn’t get enough development before the blood starts to fly. The cook is also a standout as he gives one of the better performances through his banter with Betsy. This is primarily a creature feature so the story is placed in the passenger seat for the action and visuals to shine.
The camera work and overall cinematography is done very well. There are some great compositions and the focus is always razor sharp (See what I did there. Werewolf pun.) The lighting is very good as well but the color grading (how the editor changed the colors in the video) made everything a little too dark for my taste. Still great imagery all around.
The digital and practical FX are the real star of this short. The blood, gore, monster costume, and werewolf transformations were all amazing! Really stellar stuff. Body chunks, and blood fly everywhere in this thing. The digital FX blended seamlessly with the practical FX. Very Impress for the 20K budget they were working with (which they raised from kickstarter).
The whole short’s audio seems to have been re-recorded during post production. Without realistic sound that makes you feel like you are there, you are essentially cutting off one of your major story telling legs. The audio isn’t bad it’s just not done realistically. Usually you will mix the sound of the room your filmed in with other sound effects to fill in the space you are recreating. There are sound effects but everything sounds like it’s in a vacuum including the dialog which sounds like it was recorded in a studio (not on location). That definitely takes away from the atmosphere.
The test for good audio is to close your eyes and listen to just the sound of the film. If you can listen to a scene and understand what is happening moment to moment and imagine where the characters are and what they are doing without looking at the video then the sound is good. Does it sound like a real place or does it sound fake? This is a trick I learned during one of my broadcasting classes many years ago. We tried this technique with the film “Citizen Kane” which has amazing sound design since Orson Welles had recorded “radio plays” for a living before making the movie.
The other character’s performances were pretty passable. The actors just didn’t have enough time to build their characters plus the dialog was kind of unrealistic.
Ok, rant over.
I can say I have made some of these same mistakes myself with my own short films. They are pretty common with low budget projects and don’t make the films bad per say but they do hold the films back from being amazing.
The music on the other hand was great. It really helped with the story telling. Especially in the end credits sequence.
Overall I would give “End of the Road” 3 out of 5 blood spattered stars. The camera work, lighting, and special FX, and music are all wonderful and make this short worth a watch by any creature loving horror fiend. The acting was a little uneven and the sound design could use a little work but I can’t wait to see what this studio does next. These guys are definitely going places. Dark and scary places of celluloid and gooey insides. Ok that was creepy but the gore effects in this short were pretty freakin amazing. Check out the short in the link below. Afterwards come on back and tell me what you thought. Until next time keep it creepy my fiendish friends.
(movie review by Jeanette Andromeda): http://bit.ly/1qO3nfD