Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Monomaniacal (2011)

Monomaniacal is a short film from writer/director Michael Sharpe. The description from the film’s Vimeo page (“A young woman flees for her life after escaping a killer's wrath”) didn’t tell me too much, so I just decided to click play and hope for the best.

The film starts with a typical scene of a girl being tortured by a faceless killer (Tim Ross) in a dark, dank basement. You can be certain that plenty of screaming and bloodletting ensues. Once the killer leaves his victim alone, she notices other victims strewn about the room and, surprisingly, one is still (barely) alive. The two scheme a way out and soon the victim’s newest victim, whose name is Sam (played by Katie Bearden), tries to help the injured victim Jess (Brittany Bass). However, the killer comes back and only Sam escapes. Then she is on a run for her life through the woods as the killer pursues her. Will Sam survive the horrors of the night and can she overcome the new terrors daylight reveals?

Monomaniacal doesn’t tread any new ground in the horror genre, but it is an enjoyable short with several strong performances. Katie Bearden gives a fierce performance as the victim who decides to fight back. Her spunk, strength and perseverance reminded me a lot of Eliza Dushku’s performances. Even though Brittany Bass didn’t have that big of a part, you could tell she put her all into the performance. Her portrayal of her character is so realistic you can nearly feel her pain and suffering! Lastly, Catherine Trail gives a shocking performance as a character called simply the “Woman”. While not completely unexpected, she spews some vitriol that is quite startling coming from her prim appearance.

While the short has a predictable story, at least Sharpe’s direction is, well, sharp. Scenes are well lit, the viewer is engaged by varied camera angles and he definitely knows how to capture the action. His story isn’t that original, but at least he knows how to tell a story in an interesting manner.

I didn’t expect much from this short after its torture porn-esque opening, but was pleasantly surprised by Michael Sharpe’s strong direction and the impressive performances from the cast. If you get a chance to check out Monomaniacal, do so!

For more information on the film, including upcoming screenings, check out its Facebook page!

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