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By midlandsmovies, Mar 6 2019 09:40AM

Scarecrow (2018)


Directed by Lee Charlish


Korky Films and Jam-AV Productions


Coventry filmmaker Lee Charlish of Korky films takes a leap from his dark animation films into a terrifying drama of a lost couple on the road in new chiller Scarecrow.


A nagging couple (Adrian Annis as Thomas and Georgina Mellor as Natalie) find themselves stranded after running out of petrol in a country lane.


As they argue over where they are and what to do, they blame each other as to the reason why the car has broken down but soon decide to go and search for help. However, in the wooded backroads, they have little luck in finding any assistance.


They soon stumble upon a clearing where an ominous looking Scarecrow is placed with a sign warning them – DO NOT TOUCH. As Natalie is entranced by its seemingly strange power, the film starts to dip a toe into more supernatural fare.


The bickering between the couple is one of the short’s highlights. The two leads trade barbs in well-written dialogue as well as unspoken looks and menacing stares between each other.


The quirky tweed suit and horn-rimmed glasses of Thomas, as well as Natlaie’s tree-green dress add class to the film’s costume design and it’s little touches like these that truly add flavour to local shorts looking to stand out.


A few touches of humour give it the dark comedy vibe of The League of Gentlemen and the hot sunny day contrasts nicely with the eerie horror score – again, making it rise above more traditional takes and clichés.


Director Charlish has taken a few horror tropes but wisely twists them to provide something new and the excellent production design, score and certainly the two leads help this film rise above the familiar genre beats.


Creepy and inventive and with plenty of 50’s infused jazz style, Scarecrow is as good as they come in the local film arena and with excellent work from all involved, it is a fashionably cool and suave horror that stands out in the crowd. Or should that be field. A stupendous short.


Michael Sales


By midlandsmovies, Jan 1 2019 12:18PM

Aurora (2018)


Directed by Louis Brough & Natalie Martins


Scarlett Light Media


This new Midlands short uses the region to re-imagine Sleeping Beauty in the Woods taking elements of both fantasy and drama in its new take on the established fairy tale.


We open on an ominous spinning wheel before waking up, funnily enough, with our lead Rose (Amelia Gabbard) heading downstairs on her birthday to a fate unknown.


In a kitchen we see an older lady, Aunt Fleur discuss a family secret with her own sister but unbeknownst to them both, Rose is within ear shot to this shocking truth. Here we find that Rose was taken from her parents who are both still alive and before they know it, they see Rose run off into the forest.


The directors use well-tailored fantasy costumes to evoke a world of wickedly wonder whilst the forest and woods are filmed in glorious green hues given the film an air of animation with their vivid and contrasting colours.


As Rose gathers her thoughts near a small brook, a stranger (David Wayman) arrives on a white horse. Again, the filmmaker takes us from the Midlands to a fantasy land complimented by a great sound mix and a fantastical string score.


The stranger expresses his fondness for her singing before the two embark on a walk around the woods and lakes. Gorgeous cinematography helps sells this wonderland and the acting is solid if a little melodramatic at times. Good location work is helped with the use of an historic building that could be almost gingerbread with its chocolate brown beams and flowery sweet garden.


One of her aunts eventually catches up with Rose to explain that Rose’s parents live in a nearby castle but she was hidden as a young child to avoid “something evil”. And then shares some of her own magical secrets with a wand literally up her sleeve.


The two directors have maintained and delivered on a special vision that takes a very different tact to many of the films from the region. It’s great to see this, and the Lord of the Rings influenced The Return of the Ring, focus on the fantasy genre. Especially when Tolkien’s real Middle-Earth was better known as the West Midlands.


In conclusion, the film is a well-executed and fun slice of folklore with its own spin. A magical tale with a real visual flair, you should check out Aurora for all its enchanting delights.


Mike Sales


Find out more about Aurora at the film’s official Facebook page here



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