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Ambushed (2017) Short Film Review

Updated: Feb 2, 2021


Directed by: #Duke

Written by: #Duke


A group of hikers from different backgrounds are hunted down by a mysterious sniper in this action packed short thriller/drama.

Ambushed (2017), directed by Los Angeles based filmmaker Duke, who has several films to his name, explores the crippling paranoia and panic that overwhelms anybody when they are pursued by an unknown predator with a gun. According to one of the stars, Alexandra Creteau, who plays Anastasia, an unfortunate victim of the attack, the plot was inspired by the mass shootings that took place in America at the time and this socio-political theme is carried throughout the tense twenty minutes of action and chills.

Bold red title of the film, black and white image of targeting scope on forest backdrop, with cast and crew listed underneath.
Ambushed (2017) Short Film Poster

The film exhibits high quality camerawork, with a variety of dynamic shots ranging from aerial footage to handheld to fast motion photography, with stunning cinematography to boot. The short implements a green/blue colour correction to the picture, creating a cold tone to the visuals which correlates with the sinister presence of a relentless assassin. One of the most suspenseful sequences of the short orchestrates all of these stylistic elements seamlesslessly when Steven (Arlow) attempts to track down the sniper with his own gun and is hit in the process. The action sequences are well coordinated and filmed with a flair of confidence and skill, making for thrilling watching.

The majority of the cast have also featured in Duke’s other films and although there is little characterisation, with some solely existing to be killed, the clear focus of the film is to present gritty, entertaining action sets. The dialogue is a little flat and straight delivery from the stars is often unconvincing, especially the insistent repetition of the gimmick “Sweet Jesus, mother of God!”, which becomes unintentionally humorous after hearing it for the third of fourth time. The attempts at soft humour is also a bit hit and miss. Nevertheless, the film has a consistently strong direction and atmospheric quality to it which keeps it engaging.

The musical score by Duke is also one of the short’s biggest strengths alongside its compelling style. Duke orchestrates ambient, anticipatory pieces which effectively build suspense and tension as the different groups unwittingly walk into the assassin’s trap. There are pounding action cues which enhance the momentum and pacing of the more intense segments that are the most notable highlights to the film.

Ambushed is a thrilling short movie bolstered by an impressive director and cinematographer at the helm with a clear dedication and passion for the craft, as well as offering a compelling reflection on contemporary social issues. The strong action and enticing score make this flick a satisfying watch and a good time! Just don’t go into the woods…


Ambushed (2017) Short Film:


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