Thursday, November 03, 2011

Sacrifice: A Vampire Tale – review

Director: Robert Jukic

Release date: 2009

Contains spoilers

Ammended Review: Sacrifice is a short film (some 9 minutes) that I stumbled across on iTunes and thought I would give a go. It suffers, as many a short film does, with too much story background lost because of a curtailed running time. However it also does something rather wonderful in respect of faith and the vampiric reaction to religious icons and phenomena.

It also juxtaposes a richly gothic location with the modern starkness of Melbourne’s underground system.

the next target
We begin in the gothic location. A man, credited as the stalker (Terry Camilleri), puts a sharp, blood soaked knife down on a bloody tray and moves a skull that is still wet with blood. He crosses through a photograph of a man and looks to another photo. This one is of a woman (Jamie McDowell) and he circles her... his next target.

casting a long shadow
In a theatre bar a girl (Julia Markovski) frantically fills her backpack and packs her laptop before rushing out, accidentally leaving a plastic wallet containing her passport, underground pass and plane tickets. As she rushes she knocks into a waiter (Ben Day) and he spills a drink over the woman (who is the stalker’s target). She moves to the table the girl vacated and finds the wallet. As the waiter brings a fresh drink she has gone, looking for the girl – the stalker is already following her, casting a shadow, a device that is synonymous with the vampire genre…

backpacker runs
The woman finds the girl, who had reached a barrier, couldn’t find her underground pass and then dropped papers over the floor as she tried to rush back to the bar. The woman passes the wallet back and they talk briefly. The girl is French and her boyfriend has proposed to her, she is going home to tell her mother. She has nothing with which to repay the woman for her kindness... and it is here I will stop.

My originally posted review continued onwards with spoilers, not for the sake of spoilers but because of something the film does. However I was contacted by Robert Jukic, the director, who very nicely asked if it was possible for me to tone down the spoilers. I understand why and will thus only say that the film does something with the concept of faith that is superb and further say that this device did increase the short’s score and make it genre essential.

The final score is despite what I mentioned regarding the film’s lack of backstory. I’d have liked to know more about the stranger– marvellously portrayed by Terry Camilleri – for instance where does he get his intel from? In fact the film generates more and more questions and 9 minutes is not enough time to allow answers to be given. However Robert Jukic has also let me know that Sacrifice was a teaser and test piece, and the ultimate goal would be to produce a feature trilogy in which we would gain answers to many of these questions. Fingers crossed for that but for now the short gets 7 out of 10.

The imdb page is here and the film’s homepage is here.

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