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Black Moon - short film review


Directed by #RyanGraff

Written by #DanielShafer

Film Review by Amber Jackson


Black Moon is a chilling snapshot of a woman (Fabienne Tournet) being lured into an underpass tunnel and experiencing unimaginable horrors. This short film is every woman’s worst nightmare – with the added supernatural elements of her not being able to escape and having no phone battery. It is easy to imagine this film as a full-length feature, but it is fantastic in its own right. In just eight minutes it manages to contain equal measures of shock and suspense in just one location.

A black moon is the second new moon to occur in one month, which is a very unusual event. Screenwriter Daniel Shafer takes this phenomenon and reimagines it to be something that should be feared in an everyday setting. This is the pinnacle of the horror genre, as it invites audiences to experience real life fear. The superstition becomes reality for the protagonist, as she who has no knowledge about what is happening is taken by complete surprise by a young girl (Jamie M. Timmons) crying in the dim underpass. Thinking that something is amiss and being a young mother herself, she goes to see if she can help, but a grim reality soon takes a hold of her.

Ryan Graff’s direction creates an atmosphere in a public space that feel private. Having a small cast enables the film to feel intimate and consequently, even more terrifying. Use of sound exemplifies this further, as the focus is on Tournet’s breathing a lot of the time. The increased volume and rapidity of it invites the audience to become increasingly more frightened along with her. The layering of supernatural vocals almost encircles Tournet with the camera creating chilling atmospheric conditions. Considering the resources that this short worked with, Graff and the other filmmakers have created a terrifying environment that feels realistic, despite its supernatural element.

The camera, too, follows Tournet’s face and moves with her and often circles her too. This contrasts with the beginning moments where the camera lingers on shots of the tunnel. This really highlights her vulnerability and you cannot help but empathise with her, as she did in wanting to help the young girl in the tunnel. This applies also to Brett DelBuono’s character later in the film, as he too wants to help and the camera lingers with the chilling knowledge of what it to come. In terms of the horror/thriller genre, the film does not offer that much difference in the way of variation or narrative, but it successfully hooks its audience with its ability to inspire terror.

Black Moon is a well-made short film and was listed for The London Independent Film Festival. It will be exciting to see how it is further received.


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