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By midlandsmovies, Dec 15 2019 11:08AM

Wild Hunt

Directed by Hendrik Harms


Harms Way Studios

The annual decorating of the Christmas tree opens new creepy short Wild Hunt from Midlands director Hendrik Harms.

Two sisters (Tess Clarke as Maggie and Charlotte Wallis as Beatrice) bicker over who should top the tree with an angel but elder sister Maggie kindly allows her sibling to take the honours. However, the lovely gesture soon turns into a nightmare when Maggie awakes in the middle of the night to see her sister dragged away by a person unknown.

An intriguing opening, the mystery is set up and Harms further pushes away from Christmas tropes into a dark arena as Maggie meets a stranger at a candlelit table. Here she asks about the legend of Woden.

For those who don’t know, he’s historically linked to the origins of Santa and was worshipped by the Anglo-Saxons and Celts. Woden, the god of magic and healing rode across the sky on an eight-legged white horse and came to Earth in the form of Father Christmas, dispensing goodwill, luck, peace, of course presents.

Harms is aiming to mix two very different tones and although the Indiana Jones supernatural elements sometimes grate against the domestic settings, it’s mostly successful in giving yuletide tropes a new horror spin.

Maggie also explains that Woden wasn’t all fun and games. The legend says Woden uses young people as forest hunters and kidnaps more children as replacements if one dies.

Following the instructions of the mysterious woman, Maggie soon ends up in the Black Forest searching for the mythical entity to retrieve her sister. From the angelic decoration to Violet’s name – violets first blossomed when Gabriel told Mary of her impending birth as well as symbolising protection and connection – Harms’ little touches, both in the script and mise-en-scène demonstrates a thoughtfulness and depth in the short which was impressive.

A bit more attention could have been paid to the lighting though. Some sequences seemed slightly underlit but that said, the visuals are suitably cinematic and well composed by cinematographer Elliot Wallis. Ironically the moment Maggie finds Woden in the woods could have actually been darker which would have added a scary presence to the monster and his minions. Perhaps even a night-time shoot in the snow. Not easy to arrange granted.

Geena Dinnis provides some great make-up on Woden but the monster required a little better sound mixing as the fantastic voice is undercut by some poor syncing.

Back to the story, Maggie is then hunted herself, hiding behind tress and branches in the woods and I won’t spoil any ending here there’s a bit of black comedy as the two sisters cross paths in an emotional conclusion.

There’s plenty to recommend about Wild Hunt though. The narrative strands hang together like an exquisite set of fairy lights. And the mix of old and new traditions are an excellent addition to the fable being told. Bringing Christmas back to its tribal roots, Wild Hunt is a very successful and sinister short. And this frightful festive film has all the necessary trimmings which makes it a hugely satisfying dark delight.

Michael Sales

By midlandsmovies, Sep 13 2019 10:21AM

Midlands Spotlight - All That You Love Will Be Carried Away

The premiere of “All That You Love Will Be Carried Away”, which is produced by Harms Way Studios, will be on Sunday 22nd September at the Odeon Worcester.

The film stars Jack Frank, Gabriella Leonardi, Christian Vaccaro, Leona Clarke, Christian Dapp, Carys Jones, Zoe Doughty and James Kay in the lead roles. Writer/Director Hendrik Harms adapted the popular Stephen King story in a unique way with pumping synth, neon hues and noir tones. And the film has a blistering score by Elliot Hardman and visuals from cinematographer Elliot Wallis.

Based on the short story by Stephen King. All That You Love Will Be Carried Away tells the story of Alfie Zimmer, a travelling salesman, who collects interesting graffiti. Every time he finds a new piece he writes it in his book. These scribblings are his “friends”. However, there are darker truths hidden in these words, and it will take all of Alfie’s strength to face what he’s been running from and keep his head above water as his life collapses around him.

Shot predominantly in Worcester at the Whitehouse Hotel and in Birmingham at the bar Subside, this is a film that is all about keeping it local.

Witer-director Hendrik Harms explains, “When making this film we were overwhelmed with the support from the community. We had catering provided by Ma Bakers, Boston Tea Party, Waitrose and Tesco, as well as some delicious home cooked meals. The Whitehouse Hotel could not have been more accommodating too. It really showed us how much Worcester has to offer for filmmakers and why it was so important to screen our premiere here in the city centre".

"This project is the culmination of so much generosity and passion from so many people that I can’t wait for them to see it on the big screen", adds Hendrik.

Director Hendrik Harms
Director Hendrik Harms

The film is part of Stephen King’s Dollar Baby scheme, which gives filmmakers the rights to adapt one of his short stories for just a single dollar. When it’s completed a DVD of the film will be sent to him, prior to its international tour of film festivals.

“We actually shot the film in 5 days, which is a massive undertaking for the script that we had, but thanks to every single person in the cast and crew being on top form, everything was incredibly smooth. It was an electric experience.”

For more information please check out the film's official pages below:




By midlandsmovies, Apr 2 2019 05:33PM

Midlands Review - The Music Box


Directed by Hendrik Harms

The predominant feeling that I was left with after viewing of The Music Box was unfortunately one of sad disappointment. The undeniably well executed moments of the film only add to the frustration of what this film could’ve been, as there are too many falters to mar what had the potential to be a fantastic horror short.

Most features of The Music Box have lots of potential; the majority of scenes are effectively lit and composed, however there is a lack of attention to detail in the framing of scenes and the steadiness of the camera is often jarring. Making improvements to these somewhat basic problems would allow the audience to fully appreciate not only the cinematography of the film, but would allow the audience to become fully immersed in the narrative.

Although The Music Box has some shortcomings, the compelling performance given by lead Penny Ashmore is reason enough alone to watch the film. Ashmore carries the film through her role as Marcy, a musically gifted young woman who must struggle to survive a night of psychological torment at the hands of a mysterious music box.

Occasionally Ashmore’s performance is somewhat stifled by some poor dialogue, which is starkly contrasted by her performance in silent moments of the film – her incredibly hypnotic portrayal of emotion slowly builds with the tension of the film, eventually reaching a beautifully painful climax.

Despite the aforementioned sparse dialogue, this is by and large the worst feature of the film. The few dialogue-driven scenes are overflowing with uncomfortable character interactions and horror monologues, predominantly delivered by the slightly wooden Hendrik Harms (Jeremy).

Jeremy’s character simultaneously overloads the audience with heavy-handed exposition with little-to-no information; each scene in which he’s featured drags and unfortunately pulls the viewer out of narrative flow and deflates the tension that is so painstakingly built throughout.

This being said, the plot of the film is beautifully written – there is a painstaking amount of attention to detail given to subtle foreshadowing, which I find can only be fully appreciated after a second viewing.

This use of foreshadowing not only leaves interesting breadcrumbs for viewers to follow throughout, but also ties into the themes of time and perception, giving the plot a cohesion that is lost on most other aspects of the film. Unfortunately, the precision focused on the thematic and narrative elements of The Music Box may be the reason the dialogue is poor, as could have been deemed unimportant in comparison and therefore was neglected.

Perhaps some of The Music Box’s shortcomings are symptomatic of an over-arching issue: the over-involvement and, by extension, over-reaching of Hendrik Harms. Harms is credited as the writer, producer, director and co-star of the short; by tasking himself with such a large number of crucial production roles instead of finding others to fill them, Harms maybe was likely unable to apply the amount of focus that each of these roles require and therefore allowed the film to fall short.

However, I would recommend watching The Music Box because the highlights of the film are incredibly enjoyable and deserve attention, but also as a warning of the detrimental effects of involving yourself in too many aspects of the filmmaking process.

Beth Hawkes

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