Directed by: Donnell Henry
Written by: #DonnellHenry
Exploring humanity through an alien invasion is a familiar cinematic journey. Whether the experience is something mainstream and action-packed, like Independence Day, or more intimate and emotional like Arrival, the result is often the same. An alien race turning up on Earth makes us question our species and what makes us, for better or worse, human.
Short film The Chosen, written and directed (among other things) by Donnell Henry, is a smart and visually thrilling piece of science fiction cinema. Combining a visceral intellect in its script with daring #VFX, the audience are gifted a plethora of thematic avenues to explore; from the existence of electromagnetic aliens to the survival of the human race.
Kelly Wray plays Rae, whom we meet at the beginning of the movie enjoying some lighthearted hypothetical banter with her boyfriend Frank (Frank Galdorise). However, when Rae posits a non-hypothetical and the dial turns to Spielbergian levels of bizarre, the entire nature of humans is called into question and the potential impending doom presented by a mysterious entity called...well it’s called The Entity...suggests time could be running out.
Wray is brilliant in the lead role, showcasing an engaging turn that is filled with equal parts dilemma and desperation. As she searches for the right human to become The Chosen, the audience is fully invested in her quest. Her dialogue with a passing stranger (Tee Williams) is beautifully delicate, providing the short’s strongest scene beside a picturesque lake. Galdorise injects some humour into the proceedings but is largely a distraction from the main body of the piece.
As with so many great #scifi short films, Henry turns in something that would probably benefit from a feature length running time. There is a lot of potential in this story and Wray could certainly stand up to the demands of a longer portrayal. As it is, however, The Chosen does perform as a remarkably entertaining and boldly made short movie. There are a few awkward moments during the initial exchange between Rae and Frank but these are forgivable when you know what follows.
Whilst the themes of his film are familiar, Henry does impress with a short movie that strives for cinematic flair. Coming from a #cinematography background, and providing the visual effects artistry in The Chosen, there is a lovingly crafted atmosphere to the overall aesthetics of the movie, even in scenes where the characters are just talking (with no adornments). This is heartfelt and thoroughly enjoyable #filmmaking.