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average rating is 4 out of 5


Jason Knight


Posted on:

Sep 5, 2023

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Magnus Lyche
Written by:
Magnus Lyche, Sydonie Calvert
Ewan McLatchie, Anna Wilson-Jones, Philip Bulcock

A schoolboy imagines that there is a monster nearby.


This short drama mixes fantasy with reality in order to tell a dark story. There is a family consisting of the parents and their young son Louie (McLatchie). His mother (Jones) tells him fairy tales about a king bringing a woman and her child in his castle and later turning into a ghoul. It quickly becomes apparent that something is seriously wrong in this household: Louie and his mum are living in fear due to his father (Bulcock), who is aggressive and violent.


This film is a tense story about a dysfunctional family and domestic abuse and it is told through the perspective of little boy Louie. He imagines his father as a sinister creature whenever he approaches and when he is seen as human, he is not particularly less scarier. Both the child and his mother are victims to his terrible behaviour and they find solace in each other's company. The whole narrative takes place inside the house and it is interesting how the fairy stories she tells her son actually reflect their current unfortunate situation: trapped in a castle with a and as a result, the boy sees his father as a monster.


As the main character, Louie is a child whose behaviour and imagination are influenced by the awful events in his home and he draws pictures of ghouls and tells fellow classmates about the existence of such entities. Being attached to his toy rabbit called 'Duncan', he is afraid, however, he is determined to protect his mother, as she is to defend him and Jones delivers a terrific performance. The father is the antagonist, the titular character, a person who appears to have a Jekyll and Hyde personality, being friendly outdoors and abusive behind closed doors and Bulcock effectively makes his character menacing and vicious.


The parts where Louie imagines the ghoul stand out quite a lot. Although the creature itself is not actually seen, instead its shadow is visible or its body is shown through translucent glass, it is still a terrifying sight and the sound effects and tense score that accompany it make the scenes even more impactful. Commendations go to Janos Kiss who worked on the creature design and to Robert Lowe who played the imaginary being.


The montage sequence which shows the loving relationship between Louie and his mother is rather tender, with use of slow motion and the song Friend Till The End by Gabe Price was an excellent choice.


This short tells a story about domestic violence through the eyes of a little boy, whose imagination almost makes it look like a fairy tale and a rather dark one that is due to the subject matter and the atmosphere which is dark throughout and certain scenes that are very distressing. It is an unpleasant viewing but one that deserves recognition because of the themes that it explores and the creativity that was put into it.

About the Film Critic
Jason Knight
Jason Knight
Short Film
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