Directed by: #JózsefGallai
Written by: #JózsefGallai
This short #horror #film by #Hungarian filmmaker, József Gallai, exudes an #atmosphere of unease and dread, which only grows over the film’s 22-minute runtime. But ultimately, it falls short of ever reaching its full potential due to an abstruse plot, substandard script and occasional poor dialogue delivery.
A middle-aged man living in a remote cabin in the woods with his infant son goes through the usual routines of childcare: feeding, cradling and just being an attentive parent in general. And while it’s tempting to perceive this in its purest form—a single parent doing their best to care for their child—something definitely feels offish. This feeling of #apprehension only gets worse when ‘our man’ (Shawn Clankie) begins to encounter strange entities in the woods surrounding his house.
Clankie stars in the lead and for the best part does a very commendable job; particularly during scenes relying on physicality. Which is fortunate, as most of the film is without dialogue and relies on the camerawork and an actor's body language to express its intent. In fact, it’s during those few scenes of dialogue where problems occur.
The script is inadequate and the dialogue feels awkward and out-of-place; whilst its delivery is unconvincing, at best. The dialogue adds nothing to the film, which to be honest, would have been better without it. Thankfully, as I’ve already stated, this is such a minimal part of the film that as jarring as these moments were, they had little impact on the movie overall.
On the other hand, #GergöElekes’ #cinematography and #score are hugely important and adroitly put together. The fast cutting, muted blue colour palette and lingering camerawork sow the seeds of #psychological #turmoil; whilst the #score’s repetitive low, grainy hum distorts reality and imparts an air of #melancholic #trepidation.
#Psychological #horror is how Echoes can best be described. And whilst the movie’s intended message―for me at least―remains shrouded in mystery by a puzzling storyline and ill-defined conclusion, themes of #grief and mental illness can be garnered. And, in fact, the film does a bloody good job of putting to screen its own insightful and elaborate take on the loneliness of #loss and isolationist nature of #grief.
Echoes has its share of problems, sure. But those problems, however incongruous they may be, are few and far between. The plot, no matter how hazy, is #contemplative and well worth revisiting; and the beauty of the film’s #morose #dreamscape-like setting, its technical wizardry and the director’s sheer audacity to tackle head-on such a difficult subject are fully deserving of adulation.