Written & Directed by John L. Weckworth
Starring Oliver Hollis, Rachel Warren, David Lyddon, Les Loveday
Short Film Review by Taryll Baker
Based upon the urban legend, Edward the Damned takes a modern look at Edward Mordrake; the man with two faces. With its tight 15-minute duration and top-notch special effects, John L. Weckworth’s eerie horror flick succeeds in captivating the viewer and refusing to loosen the grip until its harrowing story comes to an end.
As the screen opens we are introduced to Edward (Oliver Hollis), preparing for the day ahead before placing a wig atop his head. The mystery of said wig isn’t revealed until later in the picture, but as he tends to his work day and visits Cindy (Rachel Warren), we get a glimpse of what could lie beneath. The two leads are brilliant, but Warren takes the wheel with her strange secondary role. It’s a spooky and horrifying story, tied up skilfully into a manageable running length.
Although a smaller budget is evident, the make-up and special effects are incredibly detailed. It’s clear this is a passion project for Weckworth, taking the reins not only as director, but as the cinematographer and editor as well as working on the visual effects and colour correction. There are many locations used throughout the film which is great to see. That said, due to shooting on the busy London streets, the audio can be difficult to pick out from the traffic and pedestrians in surrounding areas. However, having scenes play out over several locations is definitely a smart move, not once does the pace become a drawback.
The original score by Daniel James utilises sinister and unearthly string arrangements, and although used a little too frequently, it’s a functional and rewarding supplement to the story. Each scene is enhanced due to the music, alongside the splendid visuals captured by director John L. Weckworth.
It’s nice to see a genuinely haunting take on the horror genre, not only to scare but to intrigue. Jump-scares become tiresome, once interesting tales become rehashed stories, and a promising pitch becomes a cliche-filled mess. This was a nice step back. You don’t find many films like this anymore.
Apart from a few jarring cuts and issues with the sound recording, Edward the Damned is a thoroughly enjoyable horror based on one of the most unusual legends to date. It seems at first to be a normal story, but as the film evolves a new face is revealed.