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By midlandsmovies, Mar 30 2020 08:25AM





SNARL


Directed by L.J. 'Stark' Greenwood


2020


What lurks in the forest at night is a question posed in the opening of new short horror film Snarl from L.J. Stark Greenwood.


Well we find out as the chirping of crickets dies down and we stumble upon a half-naked man (Jay Podmore as Elijah) chained and tortured in a cave-dwelling. The man conducting this horridness is called Clyde (Troy Dennison) and accuses him of being a “devil”.


Two local villagers (Charlie Clarke as Faye and Jack Knight as Benjamin) wait for the torturer to leave before ignoring the “no trespassing” sign. They sneak in and seek to comfort and release the abused man who by now is covered in cuts and bruises.


The film is well shot and the story beats easy to understand in Snarl. The script is clear but delivered in a slightly Hammer-inspired way. The archaic dialogue with its hints of Victorian prose harks back to classic gothic literature. I hope this is deliberate as no one speaks like these characters do in real life that's for sure.


With the villagers and their rescued man now on the run, Clyde returns to find his captive gone and a chase ensues in the woods. Stumbling through the undergrowth, they attempt to flee but the injuries are taking their toll on their progress.


Low budget films tend to film in places with easy access (i.e. the woods). And horror action tends to be “chasing”. When these two are overdone you can far too often see these being overused with huge swathes of a short’s time being eaten up by that action in that location. However, although it edges close for a moment, Snarl thankfully ends just the right side of this horror trope. But does veer that way for a moment.


What doesn’t work so well is day-for-night shooting. The appearance of a full moon at the start hints on the horrors about to take place after sunset, but a blue filter appears to stand in for proper night-time shooting. This makes the film feel like it’s taking place in the less-than-scary early evening. A small point granted, but one that could have been altered for some more darkly visceral scares.


However, things turn worse later when Elijah reveals his true self - SPOILER - in the form of a werewolf. The low budget has forced Snarl to show very little of the transformation but, as so often with horror, it’s about the fear of what you don’t see, not what you do.


But the influence of the classic wolf shapeshifting in An American Werewolf in London is clear to see and the effects and make-up used are very impressive and filmed well.


Snarl ends then by playing on the thrill and the fear of the unknown and the short’s bloody atmosphere is one of constant dread. If a little too long given its content and narrative for me personally, what is shown is the filmmaker’s passion for classic retro horror beats with a love for the genre - as well as some excellent artistry from the make-up department.


Michael Sales



By midlandsmovies, Dec 20 2019 11:25AM




Midlands Spotlight – New Christmas anthology film Advent


Advent is a new Christmas anthology feature film to be released in December 2020 from Pat The Bull Films and Lightbeam Productions.


Made up of three substantial yet uniquely identifiable Christmas tales, Advent sees various lives all caught up over the course of December 24th 2020.


The opening segment story Ho-Ho-Hostage is a festive comedy that follows a family visiting a local soup kitchen who accidently stumble upon a robbery.


With a diverse cast the production has announced that actor Arthur Bostrom, who is known around the world as Officer Crabtree from Allo' Allo' is now involved.


Arthur filmed scenes in December at The Crossing at St. Pauls in Walsall Town Centre and his character, The Mayor, is switching on the annual Christmas Tree Lights in the shopping centre, in which we also meet the core set of characters who then provide the structure of the stories we follow further.


Continuing with the spirit of the season, Kaushy Patel presents the second segment, Three Ghosts chronicling the Wilkinson family whose continual fighting and arguing tips the balance on Christmas Eve. However, this continual emotional struggle has finally taken its toll on all of them both mentally and physically.


Fearing that all hope is lost, one member decides to proceed with a devastating course of action. Their only hope? Three Christmas ghosts, who are determined to show them all how their consequences will have emotional repercussions.



Concluding this anthology is Dave Hastings’ third segment Dominik which tells the true story of a quiet and gentle stranger, who begins to appear at Midnight Mass every Christmas Eve at a local nearby church.


Written and directed by Charlie Duckerin, Kaushy Patel and Dave Hastings and stars Arthur Bostrom, Kerry Frater, Matt Allen, Leah Solmaz, Kaine Baker, Anthony Webster, Cameron Dean, Chris Davis, Charlie Clarke, Sarah Gain, Andy Chaplin, Elizabeth Wakefield, Elizabeth Burden, Elisha-Rose Rowley, Jonathan Butler and many more.


Dave Hastings adds, “It was a wonderful experience to have Arthur want to come on board and support us independent filmmakers in the Midlands. His performance within the Christmas Tree light switch on scenes are funny, charming and full of festive spirit, and he was in the amazing capable hands of segment director Charlie Duckerin and a stunning cast and crew".


"His performance runs alongside some compelling ones we've already shot, and we have no doubt that will continue on with the next two filming blocks, each with an incredible cast to look forward too”.


Follow the film on its Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/AdventMovie/



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