In Japanese folklore there are demons called Oni, that come into being through mortal men. In this short proof of concept directed by Anthony Pietromonaco, this folklore is transported to modern time.
This trailer premiered on Dread Central, and I can see why it premiered there! It’s a unique take on some classic folklore. I think the idea of the show is a fascinating one that I would love to see explored in a full series. The general aesthetic of it feels a little bit like Supernatural mixed with Japanese culture. Which was (kind of) what Anthony, the director, was going for.
We wanted to figure out a way to make a classic folktale (one known to nearly all Japanese people) present in modern day western culture. The basic premise is that the historical figure “Momotaro” used an ancient sword to seal the gateway to a Japanese demon world. Thousands of years later, an American soldier finds the sword amidst the rubble of a temple during WW2, and brings it home to the states – not knowing what it really is. His grandson inherits the sword, and demons (Oni) within start to wreak havoc in an attempt to escape once again.Anthony Pietromonaco
This proof of concept piece was pulled together by a team of just 10 people. Which, as someone with film-making experience, is an incredible feat.
This short was very well produced, with great camera work, fantastic costume design and transformative special effects. I love the high-fantasy style of the nightmare scenes, in particular the swirling storm with all of the floating candles. It literally gave me chills the first time I watched it.
Also, please take a good look at how expressive the Oni’s facial prosthetics were. That slow fall of the face after the lead character sheaths his sword was fantastic -and genuinely a challenge to accomplish.
I, for one, would love to see more from this story, and if you would too, make sure to share his video! Getting some grass-roots hype helps indie filmmakers out a lot!
If you’re hungry for more short film content, check out Anthony’s YouTube channel, he has some incredibly high value shorts ready for your enjoyment.