My relationship with the fine purveyors of genre goodness at Bloody Cuts is well documented.
I originally began writing about the proposed 13 episode series of shorts soon after the release of their second short STITCHES, and found myself impressed with the slick production values and twisted concepts. My respect for their commitment to high quality horror grew after speaking to Creator/Producer/Director/Editor Ben Franklin, and since then I’ve become a huge supporter of their campaign. The core group of creators has grown, and the works have evolved and – naturally – gotten longer and more complex. With the release of their eighth episode DON’T MOVE, I thought it would be a good opportunity to revisit the series.
The timing was fortuitous. While I’ve been less than enamored with many of the recent horror anthology films, the very fact they exist show that many genre film-makers retain a burning interest in mastering shorter works. That films like V/H/S, CHILLERAMA and THE ABCs OF DEATH manage to miss as often as they hit is a testament to just how hard it is to crack the anthology format. It isn’t simply a matter of trimming the fat from longer pieces, and the BLOODY CUTS films have benefited from being so thoroughly devoted to their shorter running times. These are not compressed feature length films. They are fully realized, potent shot-glasses of terror.
DON’T MOVE certainly doesn’t screw around.
Despite the depleted concept of a game summoning forth some sort of terrible creature – director Anthony Melton has cited HELLRAISER as a primary influence – DON’T MOVE triumphs due to its willingness to entirely skip over a mound of convoluted backstory. Instead, it starts smack dab in the middle of the action – with the demon summoned (from a Ouija board) and the gathering of friends already terrorized. Most importantly, it respects the audience enough to trust that they’ll be able to catch up; even as we discover the “rules” of the creature at the same pace as the protagonists.
The Demon in question is a horrific looking creature (designed by HELLRAISER’s Cliff Wallace and looking like something off of Guillermo Del Toro’s shelf) that can only identify its victims through movement. The five remaining friends have to remain completely still, while the demon wafts around the room looking to complete its death quota. Needless to say, this culminates in some very messy deaths that I refuse to spoil (it’s only 13 minutes. Just watch it).
Despite the limited location, Melton’s grasp of spacial awareness means that we never question where the characters are in relation to each other. This is crucial towards the suspense of the piece, as the characters are as aware of each other as they are the demon that is rapidly dispatching them. Sound, then, becomes an important device, and the short’s soundtrack is filled with wonderfully nightmarish effects. Much credit must all be given to a very game cast whom portray a very real sense of terror. It’s all quite expertly executed, with a last minute bit of dark comedy which really pays off.
Somehow the Bloody Cuts collaborative keeps putting out inspired, shocking work that puts most short genre film-makers to shame. While I’ve enjoyed their entire output up to this point, DON”T MOVE might be the creepiest release yet; and that’s saying something. Made for just $3000 (using a Kickstarter campaign), the film relies on the collective talent of its cast and crew more than a massive budget, and the results are something that all micro-budget directors should be inspired by. A triumph; and a very good thing for horror.
Two Nightmares out of Five – Shocking Success
One Nightmare – No-Budget Perfection, Two Nightmares – Shocking Success, Three Nightmares – Shows Potential, Four Nightmares – Not Much Fun, Five Nightmares – Please Kill Me
- [NO-BUDGET NIGHTMARES] PODCAST #80: PLAGA ZOMBIE (1997) - July 25, 2016