Directed by: Matt Kravitsky
Written by: #MattKravitsky
Written, directed and produced by Matt Kravitsky, The Chrysalis is a fun short film that dabbles into the #horror genre. It follows two sisters, Nicky and Liza (Nicole Paige Chaffin and Maggie Wetzel) as they’re driving to Canada for a hurrah before Nicky goes off to university.
The #shortfilm is quite smart as it drops hints of what’s to come right from the beginning, including its title. Nicky is slowly opening herself up to her grown-up life and to new adventures as Liza fills the role of the mentoring older sister who gives, although most of the times unwelcome, useful advice. They face some misfortunes as their car breaks down in the middle of the snow with no one around. They decide to take shelter in an abandoned building where they meet a young man (Brian Dole) who introduces himself as Adam. The two sisters befriend Adam and the three of them start a night of drinking and regrettable decisions.
Here is where the movie slows down a little bit – some of the dialogue seems somewhat lost and disconnect with the rest, but it eventually picks up the pace. The film benefits from the chosen setting, which could not have been better for this film. Not only does the abandoned house further convey a feeling of desolation, it also allows for the atmosphere of “bad decisions” to set – thus putting our two protagonists into wanted and unwanted trouble. The feeling of confusion hovers throughout the film and it is enhanced by the dim lighting and colour palate. The camera work done by Michael Zukswert (DOP) is stunning and it helps the story to be told through its visuals rather than by dialogue. Therefore, the film could have taken the chance to explore the cinematography in order to tell the story and cut back on the dialogue, since it was during moments of dialogue that the film failed to deliver.
The sound design is a particular strong point in this short. Because the house where the film was shot was so big dealing with echo was probably a big issue, but the sound flows without problem. The same goes for the exterior scenes where wind and natural sounds can spoil a whole take. It is visible that the sound was thought of and done carefully. When the actors are inside, the sound of the wind outside is persistent but only as a reminder of where they are, it is by no means overpowering. Furthermore, details such as the sound of handling tools, plastic bags being fondled with were integrated perfectly into the film. The fact that those details can go unnoticed means that the job was done perfectly.
Overall, The Chrysalis is a very good film and the effort put into it is welcomed and appreciated. The story followed a narrative and in just thirty minutes it was possible to see a role reversal and the progression of the characters. They don’t end up the same way they started much like the title suggests.