Directed by: #HamishRobertson
Written by: #JimRennie
Tense and wholly unnerving, short film Hideous (directed by Hamish Robertson and written by Jim Rennie) tells a macabre story with alarming social implications, along with strong performances and a well crafted mise en scéne.
Zoë Bullock plays Marla, a bubbly florist whose day behind the till takes a turn for the bizarre when a well dressed Man (Craig Andrew Mooney) enters and begins to make some disturbing remarks about a person who has just been murdered. At first displaying exemplary customer service (except for eating her sandwich in front of the paying public), Marla becomes uneasy when this gentleman's reason for purchasing flowers for a funeral becomes increasingly frightening.
Chock full of moments of apprehension and tension, #shortfilm Hideous benefits from a sturdy script and two great central performances to tell it's tale. Bullock moves well through her character's agitation into distress, whilst Mooney's cold and eloquent portrayal acts as a disconcerting presence throughout the movie. Their chemistry together is wonderful and make the events of the final third (which I won't spoil) all the more dramatic and engaging.
The aesthetics of the piece were impressive too. Some interesting camera angles were used to make the most of the shop location. A couple of distance shots of Marla worked brilliantly to reflect her isolation and vulnerability, as did the menacing approach to filming the well dressed Man - utilising some low angled framing and sweeps. A little more action from the score could have helped to heighten the atmosphere even more.
To explore the themes of the piece would be to potentially spoil a new viewer's enjoyment of Hideous. The #filmmakers touch on some fascinating aspects of the human condition when under duress and the writing from Rennie feels reminiscent of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror at times. Whilst the short film works tremendously in this format, it would be terrific to see what Rennie and Robertson could do with a feature length indie film in this genre.
There were a few moments in the movie which were unconvincing, such as Marla's reluctance to call for help, even when a customer returns to the shop or she has some alone time with her phone. And the man's dialogue is dripping with warning signs far earlier than Marla's reaction to it would suggest. However, these are minor blemishes, like a few brown leaves on an otherwise beautiful bouquet. Hideous is a startling and impressive short thriller loaded with a palpable tension and excellent turns from Bullock and Mooney.
Watch the official movie trailer below.