The Hungry Poltergeist focuses around an unnamed character, played by Dr Dan Jenkins, who shares his home with a sinister supernatural spirit. Jenkins’ character doesn’t seem to be too phased about the fact that he lives with a supernatural spirit. However, this poltergeist, as the name suggests, is a hungry one and that does cause some issues. The poltergeist also seems to be living, or hiding inside a statue of a Goose. Very menacing indeed.
I am not sure as to whether or not this short film is intended to actually be scary, although it does self-claim to be a ‘scary horror short film’ on YouTube. If there was the intention to be scary, it wasn’t successful. Sure, there is the occasional generically screechy horror-movie instrumental that builds to a crescendo to tell you when a scary moment is apparently going to happen... but it just never happens. The creepiest thing about this The Hungry Poltergeist is probably the sound that the ‘poltergeist’ makes... which is basically the sound of a goose but distorted. Which, now that I think about it, isn’t that terrifying but it does catch you off guard.
There are also interspersed moments of comedy or light humour, which pulls the audience in and out of the suspense of the situation. Although I wouldn’t say that there is much suspense anyway, because the plot is kind of predictable, even the title informs the audience that this film is going to be about a hungry poltergeist. There were no surprises in terms of the plot.
Additionally, the acting is sort of hard to judge because there just wasn’t much opportunity to see any really stand-out acting taking place although, that is probably more to do with the actual script and time limitation of the film than poor talent from Jenkins or Robyn Griffiths, who also plays an unnamed character. There isn’t much meaningful dialogue that takes place, nothing that can give an idea of what the two characters are like, which is damaging for the portrayal of those characters and their place in the film.
Some of the shots that were taken were nicely thought-out and executed shots, like the occasional POV (Point of View) shot or the shot from inside the attic looking down on one of the characters. Essentially, the cinematography in The Hungry Poltergeist was one of the things I rather liked because it was the one element that wasn’t always predictable or dull. So in that regard, directors Harry Boast and Cylee Coote did a good job of working out how they wanted their production to be orchestrated visually.
Unfortunately, a nice choice of shots isn’t enough to redeem this film entirely. It’s not a bad production. But it wasn’t good either, it was very middle-of-the-road. The Hungry Poltergeist isn’t exactly breaking boxes when it comes to the horror genre, if it even is part of that genre. There is no memorable music, plot or characters. I understand that 5 minutes is an extremely short amount of time to establish any of those things, but given that there is such a short amount of time: SOMETHING needs to be MEMORABLE in order to be a triumphant short film.