Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Peekers (2008)

Filmmakers often rely on short films as a jumping off point before they go on to make longer, feature-length films. Short films allow them to “test the waters” and gain hands-on experience with filmmaking without having to break the bank. For other filmmakers, though, the short film is an art form and much of their careers are spent crafting precise and effective shorts.

I believe that shorts have a very important place in the film business, not just for showcasing what a filmmaker can do or for a filmmaker to gain experience, but as an effective, bite-sized piece of entertainment. When done effectively, short films can pack quite the punch!

Case in point is director Mark Steensland’s (Dead @ 17 and the Beyond the Pale short film collection) short Peekers, based on the story by Kealan Patrick Burke and written by Rick Hautala. This 8-minute film may not be that long, but, boy, did it ever rock the socks off of me! It is a suburban nightmare, beginning with the seemingly mundane task of our main character, Larry Morgan (Mike Lechner), making breakfast. Just as he sits down to eat, he is interrupted by a knock at the door by his neighbor, the elderly Zach (Albert Braun), who pleads with Larry to come check something out at his house. What follows is the creepiest of scenes and a finale that will leave you shaken for days! You’ll never be the same after you hear “Play with me” from one of the characters!

Peekers is an extremely effective short that definitely left me with a case of the heebie jeebies. In addition to its lasting impact, it is also precisely constructed and well-acted. The pacing is perfect, accompanied by a wonderful soundtrack that starts off on a light note before delving into darker territory to mirror the mounting dread of the film. I also have to note that for a short film it has a remarkable high production value to it. Each shot is carefully composed and in no way does it feel like an amateur undertaking like some short films do. Of course, director Mark Steensland has been in the business for quite some time and really excels at creating taut short films (see our reviews of his earlier works above).

I absolutely love the creepy visuals that will cause you to do a double take and give the film its title. There is no violence, blood or gore, but the pervading creepiness of the film will put you off your rocker for sure. The menacing “peekers” are a sight to behold and their pleas to play with them are even more disturbing.

Peekers is a short film that just MUST be seen! In our busy world, short films will soon play an important, bigger role in entertainment. We will be watching them even more on our phones, in between meetings at the office, online and many other places. Peekers is a prime example of what high quality, well-constructed short films SHOULD look like! Mark Steensland continues to treat the short film genre as an art form, not just as the first step on the road to feature filmmaking. In doing so, he has creating a hauntingly memorable short with Peekers!

Visit Mark Steensland’s Official Site!

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