It’s always exciting to get to do this, I’ve been sent a short film to review and so that is exactly what I am going to do. This one is another one from a director I have reviewed before, Tristed Clay. You may remember him from my 2014 review of Karma (holy fuck have I been doing this for two years???). Well, this young gent is back with another short film, and apparently has a feature on the way, so lets talk about this most recent effort, SIN.
“To what extent will one bible thumping man go to force his beliefs upon a helpless girl?”
We open in SIN on a bound girl in a dark basement, and one of the first thing I noticed was that this short was significantly better aesthetically than its predecessor. The film has a very grimy feel about it, and that sets this world up pretty well. I found myself immediately uncomfortable, looking at the scene lit only by candles and the lights in the room (as far as I could tell), and I suppose if that doesn’t suggest atmosphere, then I don’t know what does. You feel like you’re privy to something that you’re not supposed to be, something you don’t want to watch lest you somehow be responsible for what happens to the characters.
The other thing that helped set the grim tone for this one was the score. Composed by Colin Lacativa, the score for the film is effectively creepy, and hangs heavy over the film. At a certain point it does begin to lose its effectiveness, playing of the entire duration, but it’s a genuinely effective score none the less. So kudos to him, and to the DP on this one for putting together a moody short.
This short does fall down a bit in it’s writing; something I’ve said time and time again about shorts like this is that they have a tendency to jump in to a story that has entered it’s third act, which is the case here. We don’t know what led to this unfortunate circumstance, and so we don’t have time to develop and understanding of her character or her struggle, ditto the “bible thumping man” we are shown that he is religious and crazy but that’s really all there is. It feels like a scene from a different film, and that might even be a movie I’d like to watch. A short really needs to be contained within itself, a beginning and an end. While this does have an end, it doesn’t really have a beginning to set the story in motion. Instead, the focus is on an act of genuine disturbing and sadistic violence to set the tone and to provide the fuel for the films horror, and I feel like with a bit more expansion there really could be something disturbing here, rather than feeling a bit flat.
The movie stars writer & director Tristan Clay, and director Destinie Orndoff and they both do a fine job. It’s clear the pair have an interesting on-screen chemistry and a real level of comfort with each other. Orndoff is immediately thrown into a raw and emotional performance, which she sustains all the way through. One of the things I did love about it was the clear love that both of these filmmakers have for the work they are doing. They are working with budgets that are razor thing, to non-existent and do seem to be improving as time goes on, which makes me interested to see what they do with a feature.
There are a couple of awkward editing issues in the movie that do soften the blow of what might be upsetting and intense moments, but that is another thing that comes with time and practice. All in all SIN is a solid effort, and a brutal little short that I’m sure the more blood thirsty among you will enjoy. It is a bit mean-spirited and sadistic, but that only means it’s less appealing to me not that it won’t appeal to you.
Check out, and give some love to people who are clearly doing what they love when SIN is officially released. You can subscribe to their YouTube Channel by clicking here.