Directed by: #ChrisKDaniels
Written by: Chris K. Daniels
If you sit you die, that appears to be the hook in this horror short Stand from director-writer Chris K. Daniels, however, that premise isn’t able to deliver tangible intrigue or tension as continuous shots of a man struggling to stand grow tiresome. The main character portrayed by Kinson Theodoris is haunted by a creature in a parking garage in some type of time loop and every time the man succumbs to exhaustion and sits the creature is able to move freely and capture its prey unless the man stands again. The direction and editing focus on the monotony of the man’s task, creating a visual repetition of shots and actions with minimal dialogue, but even as the creature approaches there is no sense of danger for the audience.
The issue of Stand is that the atmosphere of the film is focused on how tired the main character is rather than a sense of dread for what awaits him. Daniels direction doesn’t help Theodoris’s performance, not giving him much to do besides shake his feet and flutter his eyelids in an attempt to stave exhaustion. The audience has to piece to together what they can of the story but their efforts aren’t rewarded by the unimaginative #filmmaking. The mystery of the creature is undercut by the #cinematography as the location of the car garage means most of the film is under harsh fluorescent light. It looks like a man in a rubber mask and its not until the end where the creature begins to make ghoulish sounds that the audience understands that it isn’t supposed to be a man in a mask but an actual monster. One scene has the man throw a rock at his tormentor only to have it bounce off the rubber head with comical effect and completely breaks the illusion of the film.
While Daniels’s direction or cinematography doesn’t help make his #shortfilm exciting, the editing of the short does have a few choice moments. Sudden cuts showcasing the creatures possible supernatural abilities break away from the dull cycle Daniels establishes for his characters. The score from Christien Ledroit does its best to get under the audience’s skin but only really takes effect when the creature is hidden and doesn’t do much to make Theodoris’s standing exciting. It’s only when the creature is portrayed in the background out of focus lurking against Theodoris’s profile that it has potential to haunt the viewer if only briefly.
An interesting concept executed very poorly, Stand has nothing much to say with its thematically unclear narrative. Whether it's supposed to represent insomnia, paranoia or the dangers of monsters in parking garages, Daniels allows too much ambiguity leaving audiences wondering what the purpose of the film was at all. Alongside being unable to make his monster believable or genuinely intimidating, the director doesn’t offer any clarity on what Theodoris’s plight is, how did he end up in the garage? Why can’t he leave? Why does the creature hunt him? It’s like a poor example of less is more; less story for more confusion and indifference from the audience.