Directed by: #PhilipBrocklehurst
Written by: Philip Brocklehurst, #MuhammadHolmatov
Just in time for Halloween comes this spooky short film from #filmmaker Philip Brocklehurst in which a man sits Alone in the Dark. Playing on classic human fears and anxiety, it's an all too brief cinematic exploration of the human mind and its terrifying tricks.
P. M. Thomas (an alias for Philip Brocklehurst) plays a character known (in the credits) as The Reader. A simple guy sitting in his home reading by the light of a lamp. However, when the lights suddenly go out, his living room becomes the setting for a whirlwind of abnormal activity including various light shades and someone making strange faces in front of him.
Simple in terms of #filmmaking ingenuity and narrative prowess, Brocklehurst's short film relies more on a quickly gripping atmosphere than anything else. The tone of the piece is consistently immersive during the sub 5-minute running time and viewers are encouraged to let the psychological aspects of the piece swirl into their own heads. As Thomas engages in a series of loopy faces in closeup, audiences are compelled to question the effects of being Alone in the Dark.
The use of light and darkness works well to cement this scary atmosphere, letting the screen go blank several times before settling back in on the Reader's eyes. Music is also impressively executed to complement the story's cerebral elements, keeping us in a constant state of panic and exhilaration. It's a shame the short didn't attempt more with the character and setting. Most #shortfilms with a running time similar to a political party broadcast are guilty of skimping on some aspects, but with this movie it doesn't really get past first gear. The bizarre antics of the living room play out rather quickly with very little resolution, and an idea about the man being faced with another presence feels undercooked.
Films that tackle #horror and play on the nightmarish corners of our minds can often tap into something primeval. With Alone in the Dark, writers Philip Brocklehurst and Muhammad Holmatov playfully explore the effect that losing one of our senses has on our reason. Another film that did this, perhaps more successfully, is the #Netflix movie Birdbox, in which the characters inhabit a world where seeing puts you in grave danger, and we care greatly about their survival because of the story's development. Sadly this short doesn't spend enough time with the character for us to invest in his well being (mental or otherwise) and instead plays tricks with the lighting to elicit a stronghold on our emotions which gets quickly broken.