Friday, 12 December 2014


As promised, here is my review of Silvertip Films’ eagerly anticipated short film Flat, which is set to make its festival debut at Southend’s Horror-on-Sea in just a month's time. 
I’ve already given you all a little look at the film with a coming soon feature earlier this week — now it’s time to dig a little deeper. Read on...

FLAT (2014)

Dir: Geoff Cockwill 
Starring: Libby Gore

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: I’ll try not to spoil too much here as this is a short, but read on at your own risk.

Flat is based on the tried and tested horror staple of a young woman who experiences car trouble on a deserted road late one night. 
In this case Lisa (Gore) is heading to a night out with friends. Strikingly dressed in red, her journey is disrupted when she gets a puncture on a rural highway. 
Upon being told by her rescue service that she is facing a lengthy wait for assistance, Lisa instead chooses to wander off into the night to find help. However, it isn't long before she starts to wonder if she is so alone in the dark after all…

BEST BITS (mild spoiler warning): 
First, Flat revels in its simple yet effective storytelling. It doesn't try to reinvent the wheel, instead focusing on a good, old-fashioned campfire spooky story. Unlike a lot of its genre contemporaries, Flat deserves applause for focusing on atmosphere over blood, guts, mutilation, body count and nudity. In the best possible way, it has he feel of an old 30s or 40s horror flick transposed to a modern setting.
Cockwill shoots the film fantastically, using sparse light and the vivid red of Gore's costume in contrast with deep shadows and darkness to great effect.
Gore’s costume gives her a fairytale feel and the direction echoes this, presenting her as a modern day Red Riding Hood with her very own form of Big Bad Wolf to overcome.
Interestingly, the plot manages to combine this classic fairytale feel with a modern urban legend. This combination of mythologies is very clever, mixing old and new world storytelling to present its own unique and enthralling feel. Well done to everybody at SIlvertip!
Now, here's a SPOILER — the creature in the wood is legitimately horrifying, a creepy demonic entity brought to spine-chilling life in a heart-stopping sequence in which it first appears behind Lisa, drawing steadily closer as she struggles with a faulty handheld torch.
The effects work is genuinely marvellous (I could have sworn it was a practical effect, it’s that realistic!) and the use of sound really adds to the otherworldly diabolical effect of the beastie. This is a grand movie monster — END SPOILER
Finally Gore’s performance certainly deserves some praise. She is able to make Lisa both sympathetic and likeable, plus she adds an air of old fashioned glamour to the film. Attractive, charismatic and a capable actress, I expect we’ll be seeing plenty more of her in the future. Personally, I hope she sticks to the genre, her surname almost demands it! 

WORST BITS (mild spoiler warning): 
Flat is a great short film with very few flaws. However, I did think that the runtime seemed ever so slightly off. Clocking in at over 11 minutes, some people may find that it feels a little slow. Personally, I enjoy a film that takes the time to establish a mood and build tension, so this wasn’t a big deal for me. Patience yields rewards!
I’d actually say that it felt as if it were caught between lengths, not quite a sharp, punchy micro short and instead it could have done with another five to ten minutes to throw in a couple more plot points (and scares) before hitting its conclusion. If the post-credits scene is anything to go by, we might be able to expect some more from this story. If that is the case, I’ll be most interested.
Also, while I loved Gore’s performance I felt that the nature of the short worked against her at times. It is very difficult to buy into monologues, mainly because, well, people don’t talk to themselves that much! As Gore was pretty much the only actor onscreen throughout this became a necessary evil, otherwise the film would have gone for lengthy stretches with no speech. Lisa was alone and not speaking on the phone to anybody for most of the film, this meant that she was required to deliver lines that sometimes stretched the boundaries of suspension of disbelief. Thankfully, they never broke them.

VERDICT: In short, I liked Flat a lot. Refreshingly basic in its idea, without any ludicrous plot twists or cheap, gimmicky shock and gore moments (no pun intended!)
It is a nice throwback to the good old fashioned days of classic studio era horror films where it wasn’t just the story that mattered but how well it is told.
And Flat is a well-told story. From its creepy atmosphere to its fantastic direction and editing, Cockwill’s film is one that uses retro and contemporary measures to spook, beguile and captivate the audience. Gore is a strong leading lady, her striking features and more subtle gestures command attention. Here’s hoping she and Cockwill continue this most fruitful of working relationships. After this short, I’ll definitely be watching out for more from them both.
As I mentioned before, you can catch Flat at Horror-on-Sea in January. For news on other screenings, check out the film’s official Facebook page. Why not give it a Like while you do, help spread the word!

If you haven’t already, do please check out and Like the Hickey’s House of Horrors Facebook page, which you can find here. It gives you a nice quick link to any new posts on this blog, plus regular news updates from around the web. I check the Internet so you don’t have to!
Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.

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