Directed and Written By #PhilipBrocklehurst
Short Film Review by Jack Bottomley
After building up quite a large body of work, work which has continued during this lockdown period in this most warped of years, writer/director #PhilipBrocklehurst is back with another short film. Like the filmmakers’ other work, his latest short Raindrops takes an idea and does some unusual things with it, being experimental to an extent but not indecipherably so, however it is not quite up to the standard of one of his previous films Haunter (which Brocklehurst has stated is a kind of spiritual predecessor to Raindrops).
Raindrops plainly and simply tells the story of a young man (previous collaborator #PMThomas) sat reading in his room, as a droplets of rainwater continue to drip outside the window. What starts as a minor annoyance soon escalates to real extremes.
A metaphor of sorts for how issues in life can escalate, going from the mundane to the deadly serious, Raindrops is a dialogue-free short which blends the real and the fantastical. It is likely to divide some tastes as it - much like the written work of the film’s visible (see a visual reference within) influence, author Franz Kafka - blends these two binary oppositions of life. Leaving us with a bizarre, confined and not particularly fully explained story, one which leaves much to the mind, instead of going heavily into backstories or spending large amounts of time setting scenes. As such it is a relatively simplistic watch in theory but not an uninteresting one.
Much like his performance in Haunter, P. M. Thomas’ role is one built on his unhinged reaction to the situation, from the initial irksome drips to the grisly finale. The real work is largely, once again, accomplished by the natural home setting (a representation of the real) captured by #BradFletcher’s day-lit cinematography (well shot by #MalcolmBrocklehurst) and by some well done sound design by #VladislavNogin. As there is no score to speak of, Nogin’s sound work does some real heavy lifting in capturing the increasing mania setting in on this every day situation, as the light drip turns to an incessant pounding, before going even further (the film’s representation of the fantastical and horrific).
It has to be said, the day light does show up some of the budgetary shortcomings in the final gore shot or some occasional close-ups but it is still good to see more horror work coming along that is a revival of the daytime horror film days (The Birds, Jaws, Texas Chainsaw Massacre), after Ari Aster’s recent sun-bleached nightmare Midsommar reminded us that the day does not hide the danger!
Raindrops is an unusual short with a core idea in its head, an idea which it runs with and allows you to think about. While it may not be the most accomplished film from Brocklehurst it is another offering in his ever growing filmography that shows how the writer/director is unafraid to instil his work with some intriguing ideas and take a risk in unleashing them on his audiences.