Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Ugly File (2009)

When a woman becomes pregnant, isn’t it always her and the father’s greatest fear that the child will come out abnormal or deformed? What would you do if you learned that your unborn child was going to be mentally retarded or be physically deformed so that they could never have a normal life?

The short film The Ugly File, director Mark Steensland most recent film, deals with this very subject, but in a disturbingly skewed way that creates a heartbreakingly horrific film.

Photographer Roy Hubbard (Mike Lechner) visits a woman’s home to take pictures of her baby girl…except there is something terribly wrong with the baby. Back at the studio, Roy adds the photographs to his “ugly file” and delivers said package to a rich man on the outskirts of town who has his own sadly disturbing use for the photographs.

The Ugly File is a subtle film that has a heavy, sad feeling throughout the proceedings. Based on the story by Ed Gorman with a screenplay by Rick Hautala, The Ugly File is a subdued, downbeat horror film that’ll leave you counting your blessings…and your toes!

This 10 minute short starts with a feeling of dread as the photographer drives under overcast skies to a woman’s home to take pictures of her baby, which she says most people can’t even look at. We never see the baby, as Steensland uses clever camera angles to obscure its face, but this only heightens the tension and makes the final “reveal” in the film that much more shocking. The special FX at the end are pretty horrific, even with the limited budget the film was made on. Special FX makeup artist Mark Kosobucki did a fantastic job with creating the look of the baby. I was also surprised to learn that the story by Ed Gorman is actually based on a woman’s true story, which just makes the film even more tragic and horrifying.

The Ugly File works on subtle suspense and pronounced creepiness, so there isn’t any blood or gore contained within the short, but the overall dark atmosphere of the film is what really sells the film. The fear of having a child born with deformities will resonate with many people, even if they don’t have kids of their own (like myself), so check The Ugly File out when it comes to a film festival near you!

Visit Mark Steensland’s Official Site!

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