Director: Randall Plunkett
Starring: Conor Marren, Emma Eliza Regan
Run-time: 16 minutes
Last week, I was contacted by Irish film producer/director Randall Plunkett who asked me if I could take a look at his independently financed short film Out There. As a film school graduate myself, I've seen a lot of short films shot on meager budgets, most less than impressive. However, Out There did leave an impression on me.
In fact, it inspired me to create a new feature - Indie Matters, which will be a series promoting independently financed/made films. So if you have a project that needs some exposure or you want your film/short reviewed, get in contact with me and I'll be happy to cover it.
But back to Out There. Here's the plot synopsis:
"Out There is the story of a man's struggle to uncover the truth on what has happened to him, whilst surviving the beautiful but deadly environment he has found himself in. The film follows Robert who wakes up deep in the woods on a beautiful summers day. Robert is suffering from a head wound with no idea how he got there. He begins to walk, trying to find his way out of the endless quiet countryside, not seeing any one around. He finally finds an old beaten track, which he follows. He stumbles along an old farm, completely deserted, it is clear all is not well.."
|There's some cracking cinematography.|
As far as short films go, Out There is an accomplished and promising piece of work that teases and intrigues enough to make you want more. What impressed me the most is the cinematography, which helps to communicate the isolation and claustrophobia of Robert's situation; he literally has no idea what has happened to him. The camera movements are simplistic but the quality of the image is great, no doubt thanks to the RED Scarlet, which is the camera that the short was shot on.
At first, the film reminded me of Adrien Brody's recent film Wrecked. As Robert walks through desolate forestry and abandoned buildings, he gets flickers of his memory back, but it's fractured and unclear. Just like in Wrecked, as Robert continues investigating, his memory becomes clearer and the realisation of what has happened to him soon becomes apparent. A shot of a dismembered human hand acts as an ominous fore-warning to the audience, although Robert walks straight past it.
And that's when, through flashbacks, we learn of the fatal car crash which put Robert in this position. Whilst him and his girlfriend were having an argument in the car, Robert hits the thing pictured above. They freak out, thinking they've killed an innocent pedestrian but he's not so innocent at all. Whilst it's never actually said in the film, I think it's safe to assume that the 'thing' is a zombie as it fits the usual description; blood hemorrhaging from face, ripped clothes, aggressive attitude etc.
Anyway, more zombie friends turn up and Robert finds himself in a 'fight or flight' situation, his girlfriend begging him for help. This is where the short climaxes as an epic score kicks-in, revealing a monstrous mass of hungry zombies. The final few shots reminded me of the introductory scene of 28 Weeks Later and the score is fairly reminiscent of John Murphy's iconic music. Does Robert fight for his girlfriend's life or does he chose flight instead? You'll have to catch the short to find out.
|The film turns into absolute car-nage. Ahem...|
Out There is a well-made, easy-on-the-eye horror short that shows great potential in not only the people who made it, but the idea itself. The concept of somebody waking up, disorientated in a lonely place isn't the most original but the visuals and the realistic zombie prosthetic work make up for it. The director has plans for a feature-length follow-up involving the same characters, which I'm definitely interested in seeing.
If you want to see the short yourself or find out more about the project, you can visit the official website here or the Facebook page.
Are you an independent producer, writer or film-maker? Do you have a project that needs promoting? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your project. If I like what I see, I'll be happy to write an article, review or feature about your film.