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By midlandsmovies, Aug 31 2019 10:33AM



Midlands Review - Off Grid


Directed by Carl Timms


2019


Dark Matter Films


How far will you go to protect your loved ones is a question asked in Off Grid, an impressive new short from Midlands filmmaker Carl Timms.


Opening with an unknown man in the woods at night, he is concerned for an injured woman whose clothes are splattered with blood. We are immediately shocked as we are then introduced to a bearded stranger in a green jacket who strikes the man hard with a shovel.


Strangely though, before passing away the man’s eyes glow a mysterious blue colour before he falls to ground as his friend (Kate Davies-Speak) escapes further into the woods. Yet the fight isn’t over as our attacker tracks down the frightened female, hits her and then her similarly blue eyes fade out to darkness.


So, Off Grid begins fantastically with an intense and intriguing opening sequence filmed at night using great cinematography from Paul Angier. And therefore the film impresses even before the main title appears. I’d advise local filmmakers to take note here as an exciting opening for your story (no matter what the genre) can create mystery using characters in conflict. Later the brief credits are laid over more footage to move along the story. So no time is wasted. If you’re condensing your story for a short-film format then condense most other things too.


Cutting to dawn, the man is John Tanner (played by Game of Thrones’ James Cosmo) who re-sets a bloodied bear trap before returning to a shack in the woods where bed-bound wife Grace (Alison Steadman) discusses with him about the safety of their refuge.


And here the film switches its sympathies from the young victims to the older protagonist – who is the real threat here? As John moves body bags to makeshift graves, he discovers his female victim’s body has disappeared, but we are quickly thrust into a tense moment as another suspicious stranger (Marc Bayliss) arrives and offers to work for a meal.


The devil is in the detail in Off Grid too. The hair and make-up are noticeably apt, the audience really gets a sense of the situation and surroundings from the subtle clothing and dirt and grime along with some gory special effects.


With the stranger welcomed into the shack, their cordial discussion over the table leads to an intense confrontation that instils further paranoia about the characters’ intentions and who each say they are.


The film reminded me a little of 2017 horror It Comes at Night by Trey Edward Shults. The infection, protection, a remote cabin and the constant fear of an unknown presence as a couple try to stay alive are all present but this is a far more engaging film that that (see our review here). The paranoia of the unknown seen in Off Grid also appears in 2019’s The Hole in the Ground (review here) which funnily enough also starred another haunting performance from James Cosmo.


And so as more blue light appears into the cabin, a final fight for survival ensues and Timms has expertly created set-ups and pay-offs which lead the film to a satisfying conclusion.


In the end, Off Grid is one of the most impressive shorts from the region in 2019. Timms has built upon his 2017 short STILL (review here) and develops the dark themes into a fascinating flick.


With twists, turns and a shocking final revelation, the 20-minute film is ultimately a stunning success for everyone involved. And the innovative shots, absorbing narrative and captivating performances from the cast make Off Grid an astonishing achievement that mixes high quality drama with spectacular shocks.


Michael Sales


By midlandsmovies, Dec 3 2018 10:22AM



Midlands Spotlight - Off Grid release new trailer to coincide with crowdfunding campaign


Off Grid is the upcoming production from Dark Matter Films and Bewdley-based Director Carl Timms who shot the short film on location in Worcestershire earlier this summer with a completion date pencilled in for early 2019.


The crowdfunding campaign will raise money for the film’s special effects and final post-production for this post-apocalyptic, supernatural thriller which boasts a stellar cast including James Cosmo, MBE (Game of Thrones, Braveheart, The Outlaw King) as force of nature John Tanner; Alison Steadman (Pride and Prejudice, Gavin & Stacey) as his frail wife, Grace and Marc Baylis (Redcon-1, Coronation Street) as the enigmatic Stranger


Rising British horror actress Kate Davies-Speak (Horizon, Dead Air) as Cailtin Rourke is also involved and the trailer, which can be viewed above, offers a glimpse of the other-worldly threat, ‘The Shining Ones’, who are plaguing humanity.



Off Grid is directed by Carl Timms (click here to read our review of his earlier Midlands film STILL) and written by Mark Brendan through their production company Dark Matter Films and was shot over the summer of 2018. It tells the story of elderly couple, John and Grace Tanner, who have fled deep into the forest following an apocalyptic event. There John fights to protect his frail wife, and his own sanity, from a supernatural threat. The arrival of another survivor forces John to assess if he is an ally or a threat, leading to revelations that could shatter the sanctuary he has built for them.


Bewdley-based director Carl Timms says, "We are delighted with how the filming turned out. We feel honoured to have worked with such a talented cast who brought these characters to life exactly as we hoped. Off Grid is a hard-hitting, intense drama that tells an ambitious, character-driven story in just 20min. To make it work we needed actors with real gravitas and they delivered beyond our hopes. But credit must also go to our amazing crew who all worked so hard to make this the best it could be".




The Indiegogo campaign with a target of £5,000 for Off Grid launched 25th November and can be found by clicking here. All funds raised are being put into post-production of the film, including CGI effects work, grading, sound design and final mastering.


The ‘perks’ on offer include an Associate / Executive Producer credit including tickets to a premiere screening, sponsorship opportunities for local businesses, digital and DVD copies of the finished film, limited edition artwork and behind the scenes photography, and a thank you in the credits for making the film happen. If the campaign is a success, Dark Matter Films are planning an early 2019 completion date and high-end festival run.


Keep up to date at https://www.darkmatterfilms.co.uk


Photos courtesy of Gary Moore, strongarmphotography


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