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Broken Castles

average rating is 3 out of 5


Jason Knight


Posted on:

Nov 28, 2023

Film Reviews
Broken Castles
Directed by:
Ginevra Gentili
Written by:
Ryan Napier
Kevin Manteaw, Ryan Napier

Two young men reside in a large castle, living a seemingly peaceful life. However, danger appears to be nearby.


This short is mysterious. Filmed at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire, England, the story follows two men (Napier and Manteaw), who live together in a vast castle, but some sort of sinister force is preventing them from leaving the castle premises.


The two men seem to be close. Are they relatives? Long-time friends? How long have they lived there for? They appear have been at that place for quite some time as they seem to have made a decent life there for themselves. They playfully wrestle with each other, they do work around the building, including gardening and they attend the castle's worship area to say their prayers. Considering the clothing they are wearing (great work by costume designer Ella Hackett) and the fact that there seems to be no electricity, it appears that the story takes place a few centuries ago.


As mentioned, the two heroes are unable to leave the castle premises and that is arguably the most intriguing part of this film. If they approach the wall that separates the castle and its land from the countryside that surrounds it, some ominous and unseen power seems to mentally attack them and cause them to feel terrified and even feel physical pain and apparently tying a handkerchief around their head will help resist. The presence of this threat is indicated by eldritch sounds of whispering, accompanied by an ominous, tense score and fast cutting. All these aspects create a threatening atmosphere thanks to the creativity of sound designer Michalianna Theofanopoulou and composer Rebecca Doherty and the strong acting by Napier and Manteaw.


The two protagonists appear to be the same age and on the surface they are more or less the same, having fun, working and praying together. However, there are differences between them, as Manteaw's character seems eager to leave the castle area, regardless of the danger.


Repetition occurs often in this short, both visually and in the audio. The fast cutting happens more than once and while it takes place, the same images are seen again and again and so is the shot of a large bird flying in the sky. Regarding the audio, certain words of a prayer are repeatedly recited.


This short could be categorised as a period drama with elements of horror, after all the plot concerns people trapped in a place by some evil force. It is kind of like a fairy tale. As mentioned, it is a mystery, with multiple questions unanswered regarding the two protagonists and the strange power that is preventing them from leaving the castle. To add to the mystery, the ending is a cliffhanger. Whether being left in the dark is a positive aspect for this film that is something that will depend on the viewer.

About the Film Critic
Jason Knight
Jason Knight
Short Film
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