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By midlandsmovies, Jan 5 2019 10:29AM

Night Tide

(2019) Body in the Box productions

Directed by Richard Miller

A new film from director of Call Out (click here) and The Exchange (click here), Night Tide opens with a spooky and chilling lullaby as a man enters a house in the dark at Christmas.

The child singing & off-kilter glockenspiel has the vibe of BBC’s cult TV show Psychoville and as he sits in a chair with a stiff drink, we see a female companion laughing at messages on a smart phone – clearly not paying much attention to her husband.

Tension is high as the couple argue before a knock at the door stirs the man from a bathroom soak as he listens to Beethoven’s Für Elise. After finding no one at the door he then heads to bed with a reminder that his relationship is on the rocks.

However, after discovering an open window, the man looks out into the night and unsure of what he sees grabs a torch. This illuminates not only the dark corridors but the audience are slowly illuminated along the way too.

Director Miller has done a lot with little in this short. The scenes are lit with a horror vibe but doesn’t stray into haunted house territory. I’ve always found the more grounded drama and the depiction of a realistic house can make the horror stand out when it does arrive. And this is what happens in Night Tide.

Gavin Fowler is good as the put-upon and spooked husband. He says a lot without, well, actually saying a lot, especially as dialogue is kept to a minimum. Which is hugely to its benefit. An unsettling tone is what the director goes for and delivers in spades here as well. Each short scene/sequence has a beginning, middle and end which fits into the whole narrative well and creates intrigue from the start.

The cinematography from Grant Archer is superb as uses the light from the torch, candles, isolated bulbs and clever angles to help further solidify the film’s horror credentials and morbid tone.

So what strange entity may be lurking around this domestic abode? Well, I won’t spoil it here but a splatter of blood, a silhouette at the window and a meal at a table all add to the strange atmosphere.

Miller expertly creates questions in each scene and allows the viewer to discover (or question) the strange goings-on with the protagonist as he wanders his home at night. A final reveal didn’t quite hit the mark for me but all the previous strands, music and themes are concluded very well.

With a great wrap-around story, excellent technical skill and with a set of frightful, and brilliantly executed scenes, Miller has created a terror-filled short in Night Tide that brilliantly soaks you with outstanding sinister scares.

Michael Sales

By midlandsmovies, Jul 26 2018 04:32PM

Call Out (2018)

Directed by Richard Miller

A deserted trading estate at night is the setting for this new short film from director Richard Miller. Call Out begins with a factory alarm ringing in our ears as a silver car pulls into a car park at night to investigate what may have triggered this wailing siren.

Pulling up we see the half-open entrance to the dingy building as two men exit their vehicle and venture inside with their torches.

Turning the deafening din off, the two members of security brazenly plan to “get this job done” but one can already feel that this may be no ordinary search for the person who has instigated this call out.

We follow one of the men (the expressive actor Richard Shields who has starred in two previous Midlands films we’ve covered - Frettin’ and The Exchange) who begins to solitarily explore the box-filled factory floor.

As light bounces of cellophane-wrapped goods, the director has a keen eye for lighting and shot composition given the darkness in the factory. The scorching flashlight beam together with the expressive sound, creates an intriguing atmosphere before a crash is heard that breaks the eerie silence.

Again, cleverly using sound – the short has no music – a walkie-talkie crackles into life as we hear some ghoulish communications over the radio waves. Creaking doors and cold footsteps give way to a visit to a lorry where the guard turns off the spooky and strange voices echoing from a radio in the main cab. More peculiar however, he then finds his colleagues’ hat discarded on the factory floor.

But before we know it, a freakish person appears and we hear a terrifying scream as we quickly exit the building, before a dark twist back in the car from the beginning brings the film to a mysterious conclusion.

Call Out is a short sharp shocker with an interesting premise that veers into horror territory from its realistic depiction of a monotonous alarm check. For me the “intruder” could have been designed ever-so-slightly better but this is a minor criticism when the technical aspects – especially the sound – are what sells the film.

With the right blend of a good idea, combined with a flourish of technical proficiency, Call Out is a fantastic short which squeezes a lot of story narrative (show don’t tell, film folks!) with little fuss into its short run time. One well worth investigating on its release.

Midlands Movies Mike

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