Cathedrals will fall, the river will run red... and THE BIRD will be SLAUGHTERED!

REVIEW: Silently Within Your Shadow

“Surely even Hopkins, Meredith, Attenborough and Goldman can’t swing this one!”, I thought not so long ago as I settled down to experience 1978’s Magic for the first time. True, I’ve always found ventriloquist dummies rather unnerving, but as a subject matter strong enough to warrant such heavyweights? Nah.

Official Still 7Well, not for the first time, I was totally wrong. Ol’ Fats’ escapades shit me right up and they did so in all seriousness, with tongue merely teasing cheek – something I’d never thought possible. Of course, the whole setup wouldn’t have been nearly as effective without the magnificent actors, writers and director doing what they do best, but the sheer fact they’d been able to elevate a wooden puppet to more than a gimmick heartened me and, as The Boy has recently proved, that’s not an easy task.

Scott Lyus’ new horror short, Silently Within Your Shadow, thankfully takes a leaf from the former’s book and allows events to unfold using clever dialogue and trusted techniques instead of tiresome jump scares and stereotypical haunted house-style tropes, tackling relationship issues almost as much as horror. Similar to the excellent Magic, the pathological human angle remains in the foreground and eternally more unsettling than the possibility of a pissed off timber short-arse.

Official Still 4Ventriloquist Lucette (Sophie Tergeist) lives with her partner Jace (Byron Fernandes) and loves her work – meaning her ‘co-worker’, doll Hugo, is also her lodger and as big a part of her life as her boyfriend. As the puppet’s constant presence leaves Jace frustrated and the couple’s relationship close to tatters, her obsessiveness comes under amplified scrutiny as our flappy-mouthed buddy (voiced by Slaughtered Bird hero Bill Moseley) gets the rough treatment and is banished to the shadows. Hey, have some free advice, everybody: DON’T GET HOSTILE WITH THE CREEPY DOLL, FOR FUCK’S SAKE! Have you learned nothing?!

The fact Lyus has made our puppeteer female adds something genuinely unnerving to the dynamics of manipulator/manipulated – roles which become increasingly blurred the deeper we delve into SWYS’s 15 minute runtime. There’s clearly something sinister afoot, as Lucette vaguely explains on stage, and after the genius inclusion of a macabre, unrelated newspaper story (read aloud by Jace) sets the mood, we realise it’s not what will happen after the relationship-driven character study that is the intelligent surprise but how we get to the frenzied conclusion.

Official Still 3Rather than concentrating on carnage, the filmmaker puts remarkable effort into bringing us horror subtly, slowly building the tension but never losing track of the absurdity of it all, helped immensely by Moseley’s dulcet, wicked tones – my only criticism being the audio/visual sync, but I can’t recall hinged jaws ever mouthing words fluently in all of my 34 years, so I guess that’s being a mite picky! Some may also say Moseley is under-used, but I personally think a waffling Hugo would’ve detracted from the overall tone. Tergeist and Fernandes are convincing enough with what they have to work with, as darkened rooms hiding a modest budget (doubling as packed theatres and intimate moments) may have been too much to carry for many actors with their limited experience.

Lyus’ SWYS is an entertaining 15 minutes in which you may guess what’s going to happen, but be safe in the knowledge you’ll be happy and impressed by how it does happen. Oh, did I mention, DON’T GET FUCKING NASTY WITH THE PUPPET! ARE YOU INSANE?!! Chances are it’s probably not gonna maim you any time soon, but do you really know for sure?

Chris Barnes

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tickets ON SALE for TRIPLE SIX HORROR FILM FEST!

The Triple Six Horror Film Festival 2017 announces its full line-up for May 27th and 28th at AMC Manchester.

Triple Six is a new international film festival that aims to celebrate everything that is great in new independent horror filmmaking. Showing 9 features and 12 shorts over two days at the AMC cinema complex in Manchester, Triple Six has films from around the world while also having a British backbone throughout.

Full Weekend tickets are on sale from TODAY (April 3rd) and are strictly limited. On sale for just four weeks they allow the holder to see all 9 films, 12 shorts and the live Q&A and are priced at just £30 each and are available HERE.

Read on...
INTERVIEW: David Naughton
untitled It’s not every day you get to speak to the lead actor in possibly your favourite horror film of all time. Especially on a Tuesday. Tuesdays are usually rubbish! David Naughton should need no introduction to horror fans. Back in 1981, An American Werewolf In London had unprepared cinema goers laughing heartily one second and jumping out of their seats in terror the next. Its tale of two young American tourists coming face-to-teeth with a legendary lycanthropic beast perfectly married a genuinely funny script with razor sharp editing, groundbreaking special effects and a flawless cast to create a monster movie that is still many people’s benchmark today Read on...
Advertise HERE!
CQJR7SyWwAADBd_ We currently have advertising space available at very reasonable rates, so if you have a product you want to let people know about then please email us at theslaughteredbird@gmail.com with your needs and we can give you more info. Read on...
The Slaughtered Bird presents BURN!
Burn Slaughtered Bird Creations and Dragon Egg Media’s debut film collaboration, Burn, has wrapped and entered post-production. Our very own short psychological horror – directed by Judson Vaughan, creator of Pedro and the multi award-winning Soul Breaker – was filmed during February in Hertfordshire and north London, UK, over three days. Read on...