Directed by Dan Sunley Starring Kristy Guest, Louise Willoughby, Kate Sandison & Clinton Curtis Hudson Short Film Review by Monica Jowett
Short supernatural horror film Pieces is a wonderful movie written and directed by Dan Sunley. An engaging story with a carefully planned out, suspenseful plot, audiences will never guess what’s coming.
It follows Isabella (Kristy Guest) who is clearing out her grandmother’s house after she has died. It is clear she was close to her grandmother and has no enjoyment in packing away her belongings. She discovers a favourite photograph of her grandmother as a jigsaw puzzle, and decides to put the pieces together. But it is not an ordinary puzzle.
Guest portrays Isabella as a perceptive young woman. As she goes through the house bit by bit we can see she is organised and level headed, marking up boxes. But like anyone who is going through family heirlooms, she is intrigued by certain items. As the sole character on screen for much of the film, she carries it effortlessly, and you find yourself easily drawn to her.
The story flows naturally, using lighting and flashbacks to show the passage of time. It also helps build up the supernatural elements of the short film, with only frequent hints before a bigger, final reveal. This helps keep the pace moving until the final act, and holds up the suspense.
The cinematography is stunning in this short film. Clever techniques are used throughout, like pulling focus on Isabella as she nears the camera, and used with the quick editing, which really engage you with the on screen action.
Each scene in Pieces is carefully lit to indicate time of day, and creates interesting shadows that add to the strangeness of the film. As Isabella goes up to the attic, the lighting comes from just a few singular sources, highlighting only the important items on screen and casting the rest into an eerie darkness, so we have no idea what might be coming up.
The low level golden lighting creates an almost romantic feel, yet the falling and rising music and the quick cuts back to lighting with a grey tone immediately pulls you back into feeling something is not right.
Pieces is an excellent piece of short filmmaking, combining great story and realistic characters with the wonderful cinematography and music. I am interested to see what other films and stories Sunley has up his sleeve.