Directed By: #PhilipBrocklehurst
Short Film Review by: #ChrisBuick
Another day, another unique short film from unstoppable horror-short veteran Philip Brocklehurst. This time, the ever-prolific filmmaker directs, writes and stars in (credited as P.M Thomas as has become tradition) The Hand Strikes, another entry in his library of homages to the horror genre which this time tells the tale of a man who in a fit of rage and despair after having his heart broken, suddenly chops off his own hand in grief, only it's not quite done with him yet.
Straight up, The Hand Strikes is just a bit of silly fun and according to Brocklehurst completely deliberate in its absurdity, the filmmaker wedging his tongue firmly in his cheek and for ten minutes we are happy to just sit back and laugh with him. Intentionally aiming for the “so bad it’s good” Troll 2 sweet-spot, one could say Brocklehurst kind of achieves that goal, this particular film falling on the right side of ridiculous where we can laugh with it rather than roll our eyes at it and groan however, if this was indeed the intent here, one feels the writer/director could have swung for the fences a bit more.
But no doubt, it is ridiculous, a particularly prominent example being the hand itself, not necessarily because the bloody prop looks terrible (it does, but that’s part of the charm) but more that the film can’t seem to make up its mind as to which of our protagonist’s hand has actually been removed, constantly flipping from the right to left with every other shot an observation that’s impossible to ignore once noticed.
The dialogue, and Brocklehurst’s wildly over-the-top performance of it is also undeniably right at home with the rest of the films farcical tone and also serves its purpose in setting up the films basic yet effective premise; severed hand comes back to life to terrorise its previous owner, a simple hook with just enough in the tank to keep us going until the end.
Finally, it must be said that while a little rough around the edges, Brocklehurst’s rough style is unmistakable and very much his own, purveyors of Brocklehurst’s other works will see many of the same tropes that have almost become comforting staples with each new offering; sudden changes in score, drawn-out dramatic closeups and constantly switching static camera angles; one can’t help but admire a filmmaker committed to making their films their way and Brocklehurst’s persistence and attitude towards his own brand of do-it-yourself filmmaking is commendable.
Hammy as hell and yes, there are some of the same sins that Brocklehurst has been guilty of in past projects, but The Hand Strikes just about manages tip the balance it so we laugh along with it rather than at it. Brocklehurst is clearly having a blast and there is nothing wrong with that.