In the day and age of YouTube and other forms of viewing online, short films have become almost as important as a feature, especially in helping to shape a director’s technique and to develop a style. The money may not be there in short films but they do tend to have plenty of passion. Director of the recent horror classic Nailbiter, Patrick Rea has done more than his fair share. These are cool, self-contained, little features that play out much like watching episodes The Twilight Zone. Having recently viewed two of these myself and my first thought was how I would like to see Rea try his hand at a Creepshow type of anthology. Both the shorts were really good though one was a bit better than the other, in my opinion.
In Counter Parts, a young woman finds herself horribly injured in a car accident. She has lost hers eyes and a leg. Fed up with it all, she turns to some sort of witch doctor to work a spell so she can regain both, even if it means taking from her own sister. The story is simple, we get fully developed characters, and a twist ending to boot. There’s much to be revealed in twelve minutes and you might even learn a lesson. The cinematography is well above average and the look gives it a much grander feel. It’s a very solid little film.
The Hourglass Figure was the short to really connect with me. A housewife has so much to do in a day and no time to get things done. Her husband is unappreciative, her children are more than a handful, and she hasn’t had any time for herself. After going through her deceased mother-in-law’s stuff in the attic, she finds an old hourglass. She soon discovers it has special powers, when it’s flipped and the sand starts to drain, time stands still. She becomes obsessed with freezing time for herself, unaware of the consequences she may face. This is such a great short, it’s easy to sympathize with the lead, we’ve all been in similar situations where we just wish we could pause life to play catch-up. I admire how Rea keeps doing these little cautionary tales. He isn’t going for the gross-out, he’s trying to shock you using classic methods while trying to tell character-heavy stories. It’s another twelve minutes well spent. He should put out a collection of these, so good and great entertainment.