Wednesday, 3 February 2016

SHARP SHOCK SHORT: FIRST NIGHT IN THE NEW HOUSE



I've said this before, but it bears repeating — social media is a fantastic tool for film-makers to guarantee that their product finds an appreciative audience.
Recently I received a message via twitter from director Marc Fratto about reviewing his latest film, an offer I gladly accepted. Lo and behold, with one simple act Fratto found another pair of eyes for his short and this reviewer found another title to share with you, my wonderful readers. 


But would this prove to be a film I'd love to move in with?
Or would I want to pack my bags for pastures new?
Read on...

FIRST NIGHT IN THE NEW HOUSE (2015)



Dir: Marc Fratto
Starring: Katelyn Marie Marshall, Miriam Roth

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

A young woman from Brooklyn (Marshall) and her family move into a creaky old rural house.
Asnight falls the girl bids her family — including her mother (Roth) — goodnight, before retiring to her bedroom. However, shortly after going to bed her rest is disturbed by a rasping breathing sound. 
At first she assumes that the sound is coming from a neighbouring room, so she investigates. But as she slowly eliminates each likely source, she draws inexorably closer to a terrifying discovery...


WHY IT WORKS: First Night In The New House is a low-budget chiller that relies on atmosphere, skillful filmmaking and superb timing to work its magic. Writer/director Fratto takes a simple but effective premise and mines it for every possible drop of tension.
He cleverly employs some creepy framing for his shots, ensuring that the viewer is never quite sure what could be lurking just offscreen, ready to leap out upon being discovered. The slow game of cat and mouse that unfolds onscreen works because he knows how to hit each of his dramatic beats, slowly ratcheting up the sense of dread as we follow Marshall's
midnight sojourn around the titular new house.
The five minute short focuses on the talented young Marshall for the entirety of its duration, and she proves a capable lead. She gives the character a certain endearing inner city cynicism, yet manages to keep her vulnerable and sympathetic. Using plenty of subtle gestures and emotive facial expressions, Marshall delivers a sterling performance and I look forward to seeing more of her work.
Another individual who I'd love to see more from is director of photography David Carlucci, whose cinematography plays a vital role in delivering the film's frights and gorgeous visuals. Horror relies on using deep, dark shadows to unnerve the audience, so shooting a horror film can prove difficult. Using those dark shadows while still enabling the viewer to discern what exactly is going on is a tough balancing act, but thanks tolighting director A.J. Chakravarti, this film manages it. What's more the film grading looks significantly more polished than its humble budget might lead you to expect. 
Another area in which the film delivers beyond its means is the cool (and very unique) effects gag towards the end. I don't want to spoil it here so I shall refrain from going into too much detail, but I will say that it felt like the sort of exquisitely crafted creep-out I've come to expect from James Wan chillers such as The Conjuring or The Insidious franchise. Regular readers will know how big of a fan I am of Wan's work so this is quite the compliment.
Much like he has throughout the rest of First Night in the New House, Fratto (who also handled the visual effects) takes a pretty simple but still-very-clever idea anduses it to its full potential. It's a wonderful example of an abundance of talent and enthusiasm overcoming any financial deficit.



SO WHERE'S IT AT? Fratto and co have been kind enough to post the film online and you can watch it right here!




What's more, Fratto has revealed that he plans to expand the short into a feature-length movie called The Crazy House, which will be a film in which a mob family moves into a house haunted by restless and malevolent spirits. 
Count. Me. In!

10 WORD WRAP-UP: Atmospheric and spooky ghost story leaves us eager for movie

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Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.

2 comments:

  1. That's me awake all night. Damn you

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's me awake all night. Damn you

    :)

    ReplyDelete