Written & directed by: #SaurabhArora
Short Film Review by #ChrisBuick
Our young protagonist finds himself in a horrible situation we can all relate to; he’s really hungry. In fact, he is so hungry that he decides he would rather skip his uncle’s funeral in order to return home and chow down. His other half (who is attending the funeral herself but seemingly not at all perturbed by his absence), tells him there is some chicken waiting for him ready to go, all he needs to do is heat it up in the microwave, oddly the one thing the previous tenants of his new home seem to have left behind before they mysteriously disappeared. And he is about to find out why.
A microwave oven that devours any kind of meat it has put inside it seems like the kind of off the wall premise that would serve a horror short well. But despite a lot of promise in the idea and a decent atmospheric setup, the payoff is virtually nil. Instead this #shortfilm becomes a repetitive slog as we are practically reduced to watching our lead place varying bowls of food in a microwave over and over again to see what happens and this film has all the hallmarks of a promising concept being poorly executed and not thought out.
This is apparent throughout the film. Sometimes a viewer must let go of their grip on reality in order to allow a horror piece its chance to shine, especially when the premise is as strange as this one. But it’s very hard to suspend any necessary belief we might need to enjoy this film when there is a lot of overhanging questions and things that simply don’t make any sense. If the microwave has a glass door, how can he not see what is happening to his experiments, considering the whole time he is staring straight at it? How did such a small microwave manage to devour an entire person? Why would you not just throw it away or simply stop using it the minute you knew something was up? That last one to be fair might just be me but still a valid point and again points to a lack of forethought in fleshing out the premise.
Also, when there is a sole on-screen presence in any film, perhaps even more so in the horror genre, that individual is tasked with the unenviable job of shouldering the entire weight of the project and needs to make sure the audience buy into the premise and stay invested. Gupta however, seems to have set himself to one default expression; confusion. It’s frozen on his face at almost every point in the film, never moving through any varying degrees either of it either and even when it is applicable, it's still totally unconvincing. The films only slight saving grace is a somewhat decent score that coupled with some interesting camerawork does give the film a glimpse of tension in the build-up, but ultimately that is also just spoiled by the rest.
All its flaws make The Hungry Ones thirteen-minute runtime seems so much longer, it perhaps could have been slightly more effective if it had been set at a much punchier four or five-minute mark but sadly the film would still be lacking any kind of horror, drama or excitement.