Monday, February 7, 2011

Enter the Dark (2011)

Enter the Dark is a short, 17-minute film from writer/director Todd Miró. To be honest, I was thinking this was going to be another Paranormal Activity-inspired flick, and to some extent it does share a similar style, but surprisingly it isn’t a cheap knock-off, but rather a creepy and effective short film.

Charles (Charles Yoakum) has a problem. There’s something in his house scaring his family and it just won’t leave them alone. They’ve all heard voices, seen dark shapes moving in the shadows, felt that uneasy sensation of being watched. Finally Charles captures something on his audio recorder that proves they’re not all going crazy. He decides to make a stand, enlisting the help of his long-time buddy, Rob (Rob Sandusky), to delve into the mystery of his unwanted guest and hopefully send it on its way. If they can somehow figure out what the entity is and what it wants, maybe they can all finally have some peace.

Rob’s worried about his buddy. He’s been acting really strange lately … well, even stranger than usual. Rob knows that things have been rough for Charles – struggling to make ends meet in a down economy, dealing with the unexplained disappearance of his brother-in-law, Marcus, and now these claims of some ghost harassing his family. Rob is skeptical that there’s anything paranormal going on, but he agrees to help his friend out if only to find out the real nature of the problem.

With the lights out, two friends are led on an adventure of paranormal encounters: cold spots, an eerie children’s book, unexplained apparitions and a final mystery that leads to a disturbing conclusion.

For a low-budget short, Enter the Dark looks polished and professional. The film is shown from multiple perspectives – from the hand-held, night-vision camera the men carry to just a regular “third-person” camera view. I liked how the perspectives switched back and forth from these cameras, keeping the viewer interested and the action tense. I also enjoyed how the majority of the film was lit by either the night-vision on the hand-held camera or a single flashlight. This gave the film a more claustrophobic, and therefore suspenseful, feel. Indie filmmakers should take note, because a high-quality look can be achieved on a budget, and Enter the Dark is a prime example.

The quality of the film isn’t just in the visuals, though. The acting is also top-notch, with actors Charles Yoakum and Rob Sandusky putting on convincing performances. I completely believed them as the two friends and I also really enjoyed their character development in the short. Kudos to the actors and to writer/director Miró for giving us realistic characters that were also nicely fleshed out, all within a very short running time.

The film also has some awesome creepy moments. The whole story starts slow with focus the character development discussed above, but it quickly builds to eerie scenes that lead up to a startling ending. I liked the overall subtle creepiness of the film plus the psychological aspects that were explored.

Enter the Dark is an entertaining, scary and thought-provoking short film that makes me look forward to future projects from writer/director Todd Miró. It is currently scheduled to screen at several film festivals, and I urge you to check it out if you get a chance! You won’t be disappointed…

Visit the film’s official site!

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