Well, once again I dip my toes into short films. This is a 10 minute flick that is readily available on YouTube, the film maker sent it to me and so I thought I would share what I thought of it. If you’d like to send me your short films please do, I would love to be able to review more of them. You can reach me by e-mail or just by commenting on one of my reviews. So, let’s get to Gristle.
The story here is pretty simple, a guy finds himself stuck with car trouble, and then finds himself in a whole other kind of trouble. This is something that I really appreciate in a short film, a simple story. Too often I have seen shorts try and cram in an unnecessarily complex story that really does not work, and doesn’t fit into the short time. Let this stand as a great example of a simple short that is one of the things that makes this film work. The story may not be something terribly new, but honestly, for the length of this particular film it really is something you can do quite a bit with.
Gristle was created by bad/good films, out of Vancouver, and was directed by & stars local musician/film maker Joey Chaos. It also stars his band mate, and friend, who is credited just as Walker. Joey plays the stranded man, and Walker the almost-redneck truck driver who comes to his aid. When Joey sent me the film, he described it as “a horror from someone who doesn’t watch horror films”, and that might be the case, but he’s still managed to hit some pretty standard beats for this particular kind of horror story.
While the elements are there, and the film is shot pretty effectively throughout, it’s in the performances that Gristle falls down a little bit. My biggest complaint is that the characters aren’t taken quite far enough, I had a pretty good idea of what the intent was, but both performances were just a bit too subdued. This leads to the movie falling right down the middle of the spectrum, one end being very serious and dark, the other being over the top and campy, and that’s a really dangerous line to toe when it comes to horror movies. Had both committed to taking it as far as possible, then it would have set a more solid tone from the beginning.
With that said, I really appreciated that they operated within what I would guess was an almost non-existent budget. Too often, especially with small indie horror, you see attempts at huge gore effects and they always fall really flat. This particular film had the advantage of some great locations, and that did a lot to give the ending a really strong punch, and had a much stronger impact than I expected. On top of that, the soundtrack is really enjoyable, I found myself really liking it, and revisiting the film again to hear some of the music.
Overall, it’s a fun little short and something that you won’t be upset that you watched. Check it out below, and please feel free to comment.