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John’s Horror Corner: We Love Selfies (2017), Independent Short Film Review.

July 8, 2017

MY CALL:  This film is for those who want a front seat to the lab bench watching filmmakers experiment and discover their skills.  Because, at first, no one is winning a Nobel Prize or getting rich with their first 10-minute, low budget film.  This is not for mainstream horror buffs, but for the more holistic genre fan who wants to sample the styles and flavors filmmakers have to offer the genre.

MORE Indie Reviews:  Here at MFF we occasionally do horror short film and pre-release indie film reviews on request. Among recent solicited promotions are Order of the Ram (2013; short film), Love in the Time of Monsters (2014; feature length), Interior (2014; feature length), Smothered (2014; feature length), In the Dark (2015; feature length), Brother (2016; short film), the indie techno-horror Other Halves (2016; feature length), Scythe (2016; short film). The Belko Experiment (2016; feature film, mainstream theatrical release), Shallow Waters (2017; short film), Burn (2017; short film) and Tethered (2017; short film).

PREMISE: With an escaped killer on the loose, a babysitter enjoys a quiet nice texting her boyfriend.  Here’s a link to the TRAILER, which doesn’t really give us anything outside of the expectation of something like a killer clown named Giggles.

Disclaimer: This review was solicited by the filmmakers (@MyLittleRascal1 on Twitter) and/or producers who provided privileged access to the film. However, my opinion remains unbiased as I was neither hired nor paid to produce this critical review, nor do I have an investment stake in the film. The only condition to access was that the review be SPOILER FREE.

Whether engaging the teaser/trailer or the first few minutes of the film, it’s immediately evident that the cinematography/photography direction, sound editing, general camerawork and acting are proficient, but with skills not yet honed.

At this point I feel the need to remind viewers that most short films are more like experiments; these are not the final canvased masterpiece, but workings from an artist’s sketchbook before she decided to use the more expensive film, actors, pre-production staff and means, etcetera. It’s sad that such glimpses into indie films often beget negative criticism from folks who just don’t realize that often only a few people (in this case, Roger Glass and Joseph Sorrentino) share the numerous duties of sound mixing, editing, direction, writing, and that—for many of them—it is the dawn of their career as they’re just finding their feet. Even the greatest weaponsmith’s blade must sharpen itself on a whetstone, and that’s exactly what these early films are: the whetstone.

One thing I quite liked about the editing was the use of a snapshot sound with each early cut. A nice stylish complement to the film’s theme. It reminded me of the raw 70s polaroid clang in the newer Texas Chainsaw films.

The staging of the premise is rather generic and classically troped.  Consider this a color-by-numbers so the filmmakers can show you they understand how to use all the tools in the filmmakers’ toolbox.  We have an escaped crazy killer on the loose, a babysitter, a scared child, and news flashes.

Shots like this, audiences of stuffed animals in the rooms of scared children, is actually a standard trope I’ve come to love.

The use of the phone texting harkens to Hush (2016), additionally to When a Stranger Calls (1979, 2006)—it’s an invitingly playful trope I enjoy.  The special effects (make-up, wounds) are obviously imperfect, but make a great effort with obvious financial constraints.  As for the acting, the clown (Barry Tangert) and babysitter (Corrie Graham) did notably well with their roles.  Lastly, the “selfie” title/theme is more gimmicky than appropriate, but gimmicky is quite important in the horror business and, when employed properly, brings smiles to fans.  This is something I’d want to see explored more in the early scenes of a feature length film.

So, what’s the verdict?  Well, this isn’t a film I’d tell a horror fan to watch for the sake of seeing a horror film.  Rather this is the film I’d tell someone to watch if they want a skillset preview from folks who may in the future do the next theatrical insane slasher film.  And I’d watch that film.  There were plenty of stylish additions herein that would stir flavor into the otherwise gory stew of a conventional slasher flick.

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