Mirror Shadows Short Film Review

★★★

Directed by: #PeterDornRavlin

Written by: #PeterDornRavlin

Starring: #JuliaYoung, #CaseyDavis, #MitchellRitter, #MirandaYoung, #CassandraYoung

Short Film Review by Aaron Gillingham

Mirror Shadows is a 2019 short film directed by Peter Dorn-Ravlin and focusses on a young girl named Sophie who fears she is not alone in her house one night. I didn’t know what to expect going into this film in all fairness, but from the opening shots alone I knew I was in for something interesting.

Immediately the first thing which stood out to me in this short film was its shot composition and cinematography. The opening shot of waves violently hitting a cliff face in reverse is a bold and striking way to start a short film. Then to suddenly transition to black and white for almost the rest of the film’s runtime shows that Ravlin is not afraid to experiment with the visual storytelling of his films. Having the majority of the short film be in black and white also means that any moments of colour that do appear are more significant, and this film uses colour sparingly but brilliantly. For instance, shots of the evil spirit or Sophie looking out at the sunrise towards the end of the film stick in your head as they burst from the screen with their bright, vivid colours.

When it comes to story, Mirror Shadows keeps it fairly simple. Sophie is all on her own and strange things keep happening to her. The film presents these strange occurrences in a rather ambiguous way which definitely works to the advantage of the creepy tone the film sets up right from the start. There is a rough resemblance of a plot structure, enough to get the film from a beginning to an end but to be honest it’s the cinematography and overall tone that maintain your attention throughout the film.

The acting is fine. No one is particularly great, but the performances get the job done for the sake of the story to work. Julia Young has some standout moments as the main character Sophie but does look a little uninterested in a few specific scenes.

Though this is a decent little short film it is held back one issue…its sound design. I understand that sounds need to be clear and noticeable at certain points to emphasise the tension or drama of a scene. Unfortunately, quite a few sound effects in this short film are a bit too noticeable. On quite a few occasions, different sounds will be louder than they actually need to be. For example, near the start of the film some crickets outside of Sophie’s house drown out the soundtrack as well as a glass of water that Sophie drinks which sounds like it’s right next to your ear when, in the shot, Sophie is pretty far away from the camera. This occurs multiple times throughout the film and is annoying when it happens.

Overall, Mirror Shadows is a good short film with great cinematography and ok performances which is let down at times by its obnoxiously loud sound design.

#AaronGillingham