Night Tide short film review

★★★★★

Directed by: #RichardMiller

Written by: #RichardMiller

Starring: #GavinFowler, #BethanSweet

Film Review by: #DarrenTilby



Like #DarioArgento's, #Suspiria, Night Tide bombards the senses with light and sound; imparting a sense of dizzying, #otherworldly eeriness to this excellent #horror #short from writer and director, Richard Miller.


In a scene which, visually, reminded me of Father Merrin’s arrival in #TheExorcist, our protagonist (Gavin Fowler) approaches his dimly lit home, late one Christmas night. As he settles down, with a drink in hand, his dismissive partner, Amy (Bethan Sweet), giggles away on her phone. It’s no longer a happy relationship, that much is clear. She doesn’t greet him, she barely even looks at him, and she’s cancelled plans to spend the following day together, claiming “I’m seeing the girls.” But that night, Amy seems to disappear, and strange things begin to happen.


Night Tide is a stellar example of what a movie can achieve with a cast of only two characters and very little dialogue. And even then, most of that dialogue takes places in the first act of the film. Richard Miller relies on the strength of his actor’s performances to guide us through the #nightmarish scenario unfolding before us. It can be a risky move, one which could easily have backfired. But it never does. Both Gavin Fowler and Bethan Sweet give it their all, and the on-screen results speak for themselves.


The first thing you’re likely to notice as the film begins is the beautifully lit visuals and extraordinary ethereal music; which seems more like something from a Sleepy Hollow film. The selection of music—which includes Beethoven’s Für Elise—may seem odd, and in fact, would seem completely out of place in any other film. And yet, here, it not only works but also adds to the #otherworldly #atmosphere of the film. For me, however, it’s #GrantArcher's #cinematography that really pushes this film to greatness. Everything aspect of this film’s visuals is pitch-perfect. The #framing is sublime, the lighting is stunning, and the #editing simply couldn't have been better. Night Tide is not only the best looking #horror film I’ve seen (so far) this year, but it’s also one of the best at making effective use of its visuals of any #horror in the last several years.


I spotted references to many classic #horror films during the 8-minute runtime: #TheExorcist, #WhatLiesBeneath, #TheChangeling. Maybe these references are intentional, maybe I’m just seeing what I want to see. But I would be very surprised if #Suspiria didn’t serve as a major source of inspiration. There are simply too many similarities for it not to have. Again, it may be I’m looking into it too much. But the film’s use of sound and light to create its dizzying and #nightmarish #dreamscape atmosphere won’t allow me to perceive this as anything other than a gorgeous homage to #Argento’s classic.


This isn’t a complaint. I genuinely loved this film. There aren’t enough like it around. And whilst I’d worked out the twist ending quite early on, there’s no doubt Richard Miller has made something truly special. In fact, everyone involved should be hugely proud of their part in this unique and wonderful film. And, as it enters the festival circuit, it’s guaranteed to become a big winner.