Stalking the Bogeyman
Dec 21, 2023
Jack Dorfman, Markus Potter
Santino Fontana, Thomas Sadoski, David Holthouse
A powerful and heartbreaking short film based on the real-life experiences of David Holthouse, who was raped as a child and then became an investigative journalist looking for revenge.
Santino Fontana plays the lead role of David, who is about to have a face-to-face meeting with his “Bogeyman” (Thomas Sadoski) in broad daylight. The intense exchange sees David force his rapist to admit to his wrongdoing whilst learning more about his nemesis. It turns out, the rapist now has a son of his own and is seemingly full of regret about forcing David to perform sexual acts as a boy. This is given startling visual focus through the use of harrowing cartoon imagery.
Stalking the Bogeyman is a thrilling piece of confrontational drama that seeks to flood the audience with so much compelling storytelling so quickly, that it’s impossible not to be completely riveted by it. Directors Jack Dorfman and Markus Potter (the latter picking up the Writers credit here) expertly craft their short film to grip the viewer with David’s painful past but without giving away too much detail too fast. We are then allowed to see the awful reason for these two characters coming together again whilst panicking about what our protagonist plans to do.
With a successfully chilling score and the aforementioned animation, the short film is a sublimely cohesive piece, one that is able to fully immerse the viewer in this story using a variety of filmmaking techniques. There is a dangerous edge to the piece that feels palpable in its unpredictability. We are drawn to David’s anguish but also fearful of his potential actions and desire for vengeance.
The power of a short film like this should not be underestimated. Victims of childhood sexual assault can find themselves reacting to a movie that depicts it, and indeed, David’s adult work sees him working closely with rape victims and helping them. For anyone who gets to see Stalking the Bogeyman and wants similarly powerful filmmaking along the same thematic lines, I recommend Aaron Saunders’ award-winning short film Garage.
Fontana is inescapably brilliant in the lead role, capturing the broken and potentially volatile character brilliantly and Sadoski delivers a great portrayal of the Bogeyman - not an easy role.
The film works as a short but could easily have been a scene from a feature-length - one which audiences are likely to ask for. Find the film wherever you can and shine a light on it because the Bogeyman in this film is likely the same “Bogeyman” in someone else’s life.