Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dreadful (2007)

A 16 minute short film writer/director Kipp Poe Speicher, Dreadful is a silent, surreal and artistic film with a heavy emphasis on visuals.

In the near future, people are forced to be "chipped," or implanted with a bar code device that turns them into worker drones. People live in a bleak, black and white world and toil under an oppressive and violent black-robed man. Individuality is reason alone to be executed. One day, a man in a white cloak is birthed into our dimension. He removes people's implants and sets them free from the dark regime. This man represents a Christ-like figure, whose function is to show people the light and set them apart from the evil that is controlling them. He soon ends up as a prisoner and is chained between two trees and stoned to death. His death causes flowers to bloom in color and the evil leader loses his grip on the populace...

While the synopsis may sound like a sci-fi film, this film is most definitely not. The mood and atmosphere alone make for a very deep story, one that actually expresses profound emotion. Set in the woods with no dialogue and only music (from Chamber of Sorrows) to guide the action, Dreadful is a surreal, atmospheric short that brings to mind early David Lynch and the story of Christ. Speicher does a wonderful job of using his creative eye to set up visually stunning shots. I enjoyed the point of view shots from the man in white's perspective as he is being stoned, which were very profound images.

There is a lot going on with this film, both thematically and stylistically. While a more cohesive plot could have helped, I believe it was Speicher's intention to leave it a bit ambiguous for the audience to reach their own conclusions. The images throughout, with many key objects (a rose, a butterfly, blood) saturated with color, are striking in themselves without benefit of a stronger storyline.

If you enjoy art house films that focus on visuals coupled with a strong theme of good vs. evil, check out the indie Dreadful. If that isn't reason enough, it comes jam-packed with extras, including interviews, trailers, behind the scenes and the shorts Hitcher, Stranger Than, Reflections From the Other Side and the Dead Bodies Trilogy.

Buy it on Amazon!

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