Sunday, March 01, 2009

In Twilight's Shadow – review

dvdDirected by: T M Scorzafava

Release date: 2008

contains spoilers

In Twilight's Shadow is a short film (approximately 10 minutes in length) that can be found on the compilation of lesbian orientated short films She Likes Girls 3. I must admit, before we get into the content of the short, that I am somewhat torn by it. On the one hand we have a short film with surprisingly excellent production values, and some interesting manipulation of the vampiric lore. The film tells us a lot of its lore despite the running length and still manages to have a short story.

On the other hand it is a frustratingly short film that had potential to build into a larger story and is more like a prologue to a full length feature than a short film in its own right. As such it looses kudos as it does not stand as perfectly alone as perhaps the vampire short in Paris Je T'aime. However, I did go down a review line with this short.

Natasha Alam as CarlisleThe short begins with a voice over from Sembur (Rodney Neil) saying how, some time ago, he saw a creature such as he and offered her a gift. That creature is Carlisle (Natasha Alam) and now, Sembur tells us, she is suspended between the light and the dark. Which is all very frustrating, what was the gift? Why is she between the light and the dark? No one tells us. During this we see a woman dragged by others and strapped to a chair, she calls out for help and her cries reach the sleeping Carlisle.

Sienna capturedCarlisle gets on her bike and goes to see Sembur as something is wrong. He tells her that Aristotle (John Charles Meyer) has taken revenge and kidnapped one of Carlisle's own, Sienna (Nadia Gillespie), and is planning a sacrifice. Carlisle goes to the club where Sienna is held and seems to sneak up to Aristotle's area but then immediately announces her presence. There is some banter, and near violence with Ryah (Erica Luttrell), and then Aristotle lets them leave.

a maw full of teethRyah does not seem so keen to let them leave, however, and threatens them on the way out. She calls Carlisle weak and says that the mortals are the source of her weakness – of course we get no more background to this. Eventually Carlisle breaks a glass and presses broken glass to Ryah's throat, cutting her. She vamps out, producing a maw full of teeth. Carlisle returns the favour but has traditional fangs. At first Ryah seems to have the upper hand in the ensuing fight.

Presumably it pierced the heartCarlisle declares that this is only because she allowed it and does some crazy kind of force push, throwing the aggressive vampire back. She then levitates the shards of broken glass and throws them at Ryeh with the power of her mind. Ryah does a spectacular spin in the air, thinking that she has avoided all the glass but a piece buries itself in her chest and kills her, a vampire death with a fairly impressive explosion. Presumably it pierced the heart.

Carlisle and Sienna escape and get to Carlisle's . The sun is rising and Carlisle looks mournfully at it as it breaks the horizon (presumably daylight is an issue). It appears we are on the verge of a vampiric suicide but Sienna says that just because she doesn't want to be a vampire, Carlisle should not assume she doesn't want to be with her. They go in the house. Fin.

fangsAnd I am still frustrated. The production values are excellent, there is no really poor acting – though I do not think we witnessed enough to be able to say that any performance was particularly great either – but the frustration of a lack of development gnaws away at the viewer. The fact that we get definitive dialogue to tell us that the story continues adds to this. Because of this, motivations are lost. Why did Aristotle let them leave when they know he'll now be coming for them? Why is Carlisle on a good vampire kick? What is the structure of vampire society that is hinted at? We don't know. This makes me hold the score at average and hope that a feature is made based on this. 5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Zahir al Daoud said...

This is the little film I told you about on Undead Whispers but wouldn't play outside the US.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Actually Zahir, it is - now you mention it I twig where I had heard about it before.

It was kind of nagging the back of my mind, I knew I had heard of it but couldn't quite put my finger on it.