Monday, March 21, 2011
The Weeping Woman (2011)
The Weeping Woman is a short film adapted from a short story by Paul Kane. It is about a man (Stephen Geoffreys) taking a short cut home to his family one snowy afternoon. After nearly running into a woman (Melissa Bostaph) standing in the middle of the road, he gets out to see if she is okay. She begs him to help “her children” and so he follows her into the isolated woods that border the side of the road. There in the snow-bound stillness he makes a shocking discovery…
I’ve been a big fan of Mark Steensland’s work, from his horror anthology Beyond the Pale, kick-ass graphic-novel adaptation Dead@17 (he should IMMEDIATELY be hired to helm the feature, hear me big studios?!) to his more recent short films Peekers and The Ugly File. This is a man who actually got me into critiquing horror films when I was lucky enough to take his horror movie film class back in college, so I have a huge amount of respect for Steensland. I think he has improved with every single one of his short films and The Weeping Woman is no different!
Firstly, I enjoyed how Steensland decided to set the film in winter instead of the summertime setting of Kane’s original story. I loved the desolate atmosphere the wintery setting gave the film. Adding to the eerie feeling is Fabio Frizzi’s effective score. The Weeping Woman is the first short film Frizzi, who most well-known for collaborating on the horror films of Lucio Fulci, agreed to score. His distinctive sound fits very well in the film.
The film is also heightened by Steensland direction, which is polished and high quality. Many people think of short films as a filmmaker’s gateway to feature-length movies, but Steensland has shown time and time again that short films can be an art form in themselves and can be every bit as high quality and effective as full-length films. Besides boasting a professional look, The Weeping Woman also has a variety of camera angles that keep things visually interesting.
Equally deserving of praise is Stephen Geoffreys’ and Melissa Bostaph’s performances. Geoffreys’ is most known for his memorable side-kick acts in films like Fright Night, and while some of his goofiness is on-screen in The Weeping Woman (gotta love one of the first scenes that features him singing along to “Turn Up the Radio”), he delivers a wonderful “everyman” performance that makes you genuinely like, and root for, his character. Melissa Bostaph is also wonderful as the titular character “the weeping woman”. At first she displays such a sense of dismay and sorrow that, were you in Geoffreys’ character’s shoes, you also couldn’t help following her into the woods. When her true nature is revealed, you gotta admire her chutzpah in taking care of her nasty little monsters…errrr, I mean children. I gather this is her first film, but she really pulled off an amazing performance.
Hopefully The Weeping Woman will be making appearances at film festivals or otherwise be available for people to see soon, because this is one you do not want to miss and shows that Mark Steensland will soon become an even more well-known and respected name. Right now Steensland is horror’s best-kept secret, but I’m sure his talents will soon be discovered and appreciated by a far larger audience!
Wanna get in on the secret? For more info, visit www.marksteensland.com!