Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Honourable Mention: The Monster Pool

I stumbled upon an anthology film entitled the Monster Pool: Chapter Two – an outlet for indie filmmakers from Ottawa and available on VoD, DVD and Blu-ray. It did, of course, beg the question of what about the first chapter?

I found the film’s homepage and it asked the very same question and pointed to a second page where most of the shorts were available to watch for free (four are unavailable). Amongst those was a short called Vampire Sacrifice by Patrick Murray.

As always with anthology films the quality varies – some of the films are a little amateurish, to be honest, though others are well worth a watch and all are worth a watch for free. Within these films there is also an on running theme of a key, which the filmmakers use in a variety of ways. Vampire Sacrifice actually has nothing that resembles on-screen vampiric action and might actually be suited to a ‘Vamp or Not?’ However Murray uses the title (and an intertitle describing scapegoats) to build a subtext through expectation. This was, in itself, a useful way to ensure a short of 6 minutes’ length (as were all the shorts) offers part of its storyline through expectation.

leading the kids
As for the film itself, we see a hooded girl (who wears the key at her neck) and three younger kids. We get some close-ups (using rather nice photography) and then see her leading the three through the woods. The photography seems to be black and white with the exception of the red cloak – the b&W seeming achieved through manipulating the filmed footage, giving the scene a washed out feel. She leads them to a building, and abandons them in there. We see a distortion – as though something invisible moves – the lights go out, there is growling and then screams.

Our expectations lead us to believe that these are a sacrifice to a vampire, as the intertitle says the scapegoat “suffers in their place” and the kids apparently fulfil that role. A shot of one of the kids over the shoulder of another brings the trope of the bite to mind and again it is a nice play with expectation (and filmic stereotype) foreshadowing an event we don’t see. The short, therefore, is more interesting for how it does things than actually what it does.

Whilst the second chapter film has an IMDb page, I could find neither one for this anthology nor for the Vampire Sacrifice short.


Netfilm said...

Hi, thank you for taking the time to watch and review my little film. I am sincerely flattered. You pretty much got the film it is also a subtle allegory for covering up child abuse in the way adults will sacrifice the victims to save their institutions.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

thank you Patrick, both for the film and for taking time to come over and comment - its appreciated :)