Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Malleus Maleficarum

Director: Torin Langen   Starring: Erin Stuart, Eric Repke, Rebeca MacKinnon
Format: online screener   Year: 2014   Runtime: 17 minutes

Torin Langen sent me a screener for his 2014 short Malleus Maleficarum.  He asked only that I review it honestly whether it was positive or negative. 

Digging the retro opening.  These shots are a gorgeous throwback.  It makes me think this film is from a different time period.  There are some great scenes as Aunt (Erin Stuart) carries some lumber through the yard. Scenery and opening credits go as she carries on.

Fast forward to the more modern feel when we see the brother (Eric Repke)  and sister (Rebeca MacKinnon)  getting ready. The family of three go on a little road trip.  Who knows how far they drive down those back roads.  Brother shows some disconnect.  He hesitates to follow at their destination,  only to witness a grim premonition.  They all head inside the general store.  They enter the back room to see...  (no spoilers for you!)

Back home now,  sister is baking cookies.  Brother seems nervous.  Aunt looks like she's not fucking around.  Now we see what that lumber was for.  Set up the lawn chairs, getcha gasoline, we finna burn us a....?  Witch?   Brother doesn't seem to want the pry bar. Aunt drops it at his feet impatiently.  She doesn't need it,  she has a bat. Sis goes to work with a wrench. Aunt strokes the bat. 

Oh hey,  the cookies are done. Sis heads back to the house to gather the baked goods.  Meanwhile, Aunt gets busy with the bat... Ok I'll stop talking about the story here.  We're about half way in. 

This film is definitely shot well and looks great.  Everything here adds atmosphere to the story.  There is no dialogue,  so the tale is told solely through action,  facial expressions,  and the excellent score.  This being a film with no spoken word,  the performances are fantastic.  Aunt just has that look of pure evil about her,  all wrapped up into those glaring eyes and scrunched lips.  Its so subtle yet so blatantly obvious.  Sister is pretty cold to - just because she's baking cookies doesn't mean she's on some Martha Stewart shit.  They are both pretty brutal, all things considered.

Camerawork,  sound,  and acting are all top notch.  The story is brief but intriguing.  It left me wanting to know more about the family,  the general store,  and what was going on in that back room.  This is a successful film,  I enjoyed it quite a bit.  Its one of the best shorts I've watched this year.


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