Wednesday, 11 February 2015


The second short I've reviewed by Jeremiah Kipp (read my review of Painkiller here), The Minions is a very different offering.
While Painkiller was a sci-fi/body horror hybrid, The Minions combines a more psychological take on the genre with supernatural chills.
So, could this short match the dizzy heights of Painkiller?
Read on...


Dir: Jeremiah Kipp
Starring: Lukas Hassel, Robin Rose Singer, Cristina Doikos, Lauren Fox

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

The short opens with William (Hassel) talking to the offscreen and creepy sounding Abigail (Fox) about an incident that occured in the past. He speaks about his journey through the streets of the city late one night and his bold decision to walk ‘The Witches Path’.
Abigail taunts him, claiming that he took that route hoping to see her, but William plunges on with his story.
He claims that he had nearly made it through this hazardous route when he came across two girls, Katrina (Singer) and Sarah (Doikos). Katrina is extremely intoxicated, collapsing in the street, and after weighing up his options, William heads over to lend a hand.
As the group stumbles back towards the girls’ apartment, we hear more from Abigail and witness Katrina’s breathy demands for a kiss grow more urgent and insistent as they progress.
What awaits them at their destination? Is this an innocent exchange… or a deadly one?

WHY IT WORKS: This is an odd, but beautiful and thought-provoking little film. Taking the inherent otherworldliness that descends on bustling city streets when nights falls and the crowds disperse to be replaced by the outcasts and weirdos, The Minions delivers a real punch.
I have seen (and intervened on behalf of) those the worse for wear on an evening out, so it is easy to feel William’s plight. You feel concerned for your own safety, but know that those with less control over their situation are at even more risk. From this hook, and with the enigmatic mystery of Abigail’s words regarding witchcraft and the minions of the unholy ringing in our ears, we are taken on a taut, suspenseful and wonderfully atmospheric ride.
To me, one of the finest things about this short is how beautifully shot it is. Kipp and his cinematographer Brian Dilg create something that is dark and disturbing, yet visually astounding and visually gorgeous. Using a muted colour palette and the deep, dark shadows of night, it feels almost like a noir movie, yet maintains that air of the paranormal, the sense of the witching hour, throughout. This is a film that positively broods.
Speaking of brooding, the nuanced performance of the undeniably handsome Hassel is spot on. He’s fascinating to watch, oozing charisma and effectively dragging the audience along his character’s arc along with William. I don‘t want to spoil anything here, but the subtle gestures, expressions and mannerisms he brings along the way add to the unnerving atmosphere of the short. We will certainly be seeing much more from him in the years to come.
As much as Hassel nails his character‘s complex arc, the impressive Doikos is also able to show some superb range in her performance. Starting up as innocent and helpless, she becomes unsettling, creepy and off-kilter, before then taking yet another twist. It's impressive work from a clearly very talented actress.
The equally defenceless and seductive Katrina is brilliantly realised by Singer. She is excellent and her delivery of each and every line is note perfect.
Speaking of delivery, the unseen Fox is an awesomely enchanting presence, her dialogue positively bristling with a destructive yet enthralling spite. Who is she? What is she? What is it that she wants? We are never quite sure but even though we find ourselves scared of whatever answers we may discover, we still dig for them.
That is a description that fits the whole short. On one level Joseph Fiorillo's story can be seen as deceptively simple, albeit dangerously alluring. Yet on another it really warrants significant dissection and discussion. It deals with a surprising yet stirring central theme — we are all potential victims, right up until the point we become the predator. It's an examination of temptation, opportunism, coincidence and fate. 
We are never shown any overtly supernatural incidents, yet a lot of the story could also be interpreted that way. Are the surprising developments free will or the result of falling under a spell? Are the minions weaving a magic to enslave and alter William? Again, these are questions that we are left to answer ourselves.
What we are given, however, are some incredible performances, some truly sumptuous visuals and an intriguing and atmospheric tale that will stay with you long after the end credits role.

SO WHERE'S IT AT? The short is currently touring the festival circuit where it is gathering plenty of fans. Be sure to check the film's official Facebook page for news on when it may be heading to a screen near your or for any updates on a home release. While you're at it, give the page a 'Like' —  Kipp and his talented cast and crew definitely deserve it.

10 WORD WRAP UP: Moody and mysterious examination of urban angst and the occult

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Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.

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