Saturday, July 25, 2020

Strange Events – review

Director: Oliver Park (segment)

Release date: 2017

Contains spoilers

Strange Events is another horror anthology that compiles previously made short films and, to be honest, I’m still a little split over this sort of film. Whilst I love a good anthology/portmanteau film there seems something a little cheating at just stitching shorts next to each other rather than creating a bespoke anthology. On the other hand, this type of anthology does certainly bring the viewer shorts they might not otherwise see.

In this case the short is entitled Vicious and I have classed it as vampire due to a makeup effect – possibly I shouldn’t have, but it just seemed to fit.

getting home
So, Lydia (Rachel Winters) returns home to discover that her front door is unlocked. She takes a knife and looks round the house but finds no-one and nothing out of place. Her search makes us see a sympathy card, and photo, referencing Katie (Isabelle King) – a blurb for the short letting us know that they were sisters. Eventually Lydia goes to bed.

What we get then is a slow rise where Lydia’s sleep is disturbed by noises, ghostly events, bad dreams, the view of a sinister woman (Katie) that is possibly nothing more than pareidolia and a mysterious figure (Alex Holden). Rachel Winters does a good job at emoting panicked terror and it builds to an inevitable confrontation/jump scare. But what of the vampire?

At a point in the film a figure comes out of the dark on all fours and it is Katie. Now, from Lydia’s dream we know she had light coloured hair and here she becomes dark. It is interesting, therefore, that in Dracula Lucy’s hair is described as having “sunny ripples”, which is evocative of (and taken by some as) being light coloured but when undead she is described as a “dark-haired woman”. Katie’s face has changed – the makeup reminiscent of that used in Buffy her eyes now white orbs and her teeth sharp. It is just a moment but led to review.

So, the short is effective in what it is trying to do, largely down to Rachel Winters, but what it is doing feels quite pedestrian – the nocturnal terrorising of a woman by forces known and unknown. It is only twelve minutes, so doesn’t outstay its welcome and the photography and direction is competent. As part of the greater whole, for the anthology, it holds its own. 5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Amazon UK

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