Keratin - Short Film Review


Written & Directed by: #AndrewButler and #JamesWilson

Starring: #JasonThorpe and #RobertNairne

Short Film Review by Taryll Baker

Poster for Keratin

'Keratin' follows an isolated man's ritualistic pursuit of creation in the heart of a dark, dense forest.

What an absurdly twisted and tense piece of filmmaking this is. Displaying a perfect build of dread and mystery across its 8 minute runtime, Keratin stars Jason Thorpe and Robert Nairne in a dark and gritty setting. I’m not quite sure what I just witnessed apart from superb, skilful directing and acting, but I loved every second of it.

We follow an isolated man in a secluded forest somewhere in the middle of nowhere, his routine strange and peculiar. Thorpe’s subtle exploration of this character really intrigues and piques interest, as does the phenomenal music score and sound design. Technically perfect, Keratin ticks all the boxes of a solid, well-executed short. The man’s evolving plan is so weird that I don’t fully understand it, but where it ends up prompts questions and thoughts.

The cinematography by Andrew Butler (also credited as co-director) is fantastic. Shot choices are exquisite, with mounted cameras on objects, still shots, and the hand-held scenes are great also. It’s rare that a short film comes along with such a tight edit, wonderful sound (both audibly and musically) and engaging performances. Keratin provides all of this and even though it’s quite a simple structured story, the ideas and thoughts it provokes merit that.

Mostly focusing on Thorpe, he takes what I’d believe to have been a small few pages of background, if any at all, and fleshed out the character himself. He camps out in his caravan under the tall trees, making notes, just existing. Then comes the introduction of Nairne’s character and, from then on out, the short takes a wicked turn and leaves you in a bit of a rush. Butler and Wilson’s direction is truly great, they have a clear understanding of the responsibilities of their roles and provide a wonderfully dark viewing experience.

Keratin is a must-watch eerie short film with masterful direction, well-realised sound design and music, and a bloody, intriguing story.