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SHC: Freak Accident

average rating is 4 out of 5


Joe Beck


Posted on:

Jan 8, 2023

Film Reviews
SHC: Freak Accident
Directed by:
Thomas Burke
Written by:
Thomas Burke
Thomas Burke, Zachary T. Scott

Everybody morbidly imagines being involved in a freak accident at some point in their life. Be it a car crash, a falling wall (perhaps reminiscent of Buster Keaton in ‘Steamboat Bill Jr’), or a boomerang to the face. Writer and Director Thomas Burke’s freak accident, in the aptly titled ‘SHC: Freak Accident’, is spontaneous human combustion, a fear which has haunted him from a very young age.


Burke alleges that spontaneous human combustion is the most frightening way possible. That after learning about it on a documentary aged just seven it has haunted him, and that he can’t help but picture something similar happening to himself one day. ‘SHC: Freak Accident’ is a good way of representing those fears.


With a runtime of just two minute, ‘SHC: Freak Accident’ is slight on nuanced thoughts, relying more on the shock and horror at the fate which befalls the victim, played by Burke himself. We are introduced to the character via a webcam on a desktop surely at least ten years old - perhaps representative of the fact Burke felt these fears as a child. He calls a friend (Zachary T. Scott), who is at a party which the victim, as he is credited, didn’t show for due to feeling unwell.


We’ve all missed events because we feel a bit queasy, but the victim’s illness is evidently far more distressing given the panic in his voice. At first we think that he is unnecessarily worrying, but as the spontaneous human combustion burns up the computer screen we realise that his fears were justified.


Burke’s screenplay is solid if unremarkable - not a surprise at less than two minutes - yet he adeptly imbues the screen with tension. It’s something unexpected from a film with such a short runtime, yet as the freak accident occurs we do feel a release of tension, as the event heavily foreshadowed finally hits. His direction is similarly hard to judge for the same reason, yet in such a short sample size it appears strong, though the webcam style doesn’t allow him to truly flex his muscles in any regard other than building tension.


A pleasant surprise, ‘SHC: Freak Accident’ is a worthwhile watch for anyone with a spare two minutes. Another of the webcam horror genre - like a sample size ‘Host - the film may slight on runtime, yet it nonetheless builds suspense admirably, making the slightly crass depiction of the freak accident itself feel deserved. Kudos must be given to writer-director Thomas Burke, not just for the film, but for facing his fears.


About the Film Critic
Joe Beck
Joe Beck
Short Film
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