Tide of Ghosts short film review

★★★★

Directed by: #SebCox

Written by: #SebCox and #JohnBlack

Starring: #JohnBlack and #BenjaminDavidTaylor

Film Review by: Bruna Foletto Lucas



Tide of Ghosts is Seb Cox’s latest film and it was co-written with John Black. With an incredible sensitivity the short tells the story between Andrew (John Black) and George (Benjamin David Taylor), two friends who together must face disturbing facts.


Andrew keeps getting visits from his late mate, George, who drowned at the beach and cannot leave the Earth and move to the spiritual world since his body hasn’t been found yet. Andrew struggles trying to find ways to cope with George’s inevitable and permanent departure. On the other hand, George seems anxious to leave.


Tide of Ghosts plays effectively with our expectations and throws twists our way just when we start getting comfortable with the narrative. It is possible to see some clear filmic references from the late 1990s, but I will refrain from naming specific references since it would give away the last twist of the film. In Cox’s short, however, some questions remain unanswered when the final credits roll. Ironically, in tying the narrative at the end of the film, some questions about the first half of the film arise. Nevertheless, these questions didn’t disturb my enjoyment of the film.


The short film was made with a budget of £300, which is an astonishing accomplishment given the difficulty of some scenes and the competence of the cinematography and editing. Some sequences really struck me as how sophisticated they were not only in technological expertise, but also in conveying meaning for the narrative.


Cox not only directed and co-wrote the short, he was also the cinematographer, colourist, editor and was in charge of the visual FX. He has been making films since 2002, and Tide of Ghosts is the last of a vast repertoire and his films that mainly focus on the emotions both on screen as lived by the characters, on in front of the screen as lived by the spectators.


As it is a bit rarer to see delicate stories about male friendship, the relationship between the two main characters was presented in such a way that it heightened my sense of enjoyment of the film. The actors John Black and Benjamin David Taylor, thus, deserve due praise since not once did their performances seemed contrived or unnatural. It really felt as if Andrew and George had been friends for a long time – with the banter and even the arguments – but it also showed their uncertainty with the future and reluctance to accept the truth.