I always find reviewing short films difficult because there isn’t that much to talk about- but occasionally one comes along that’s so superb that you can find just enough to say to fully justify your feelings towards it.
‘Shadowman,’ which played at this years Screamfest LA, runs in at only 12 minutes but had me enthralled in the simple yet effective idea. A boy is in detention at school and the teacher tells him to go home- but before he can leave she tells him, “There is no Shadowan.” Simple, point and story become clear in one sentence. The boy heads home as eerie things happen along the way; is the Shadowman for real? Within 12 minutes everything is packaged together and sealed up perfectly, which is stunning for such a short period of time.
The short looked quit expensive because there were numerous FX shots where shadows would crawl and creatures would appear. Not everything looked expensive; some of the tricks were simple, like having a shadow of a man standing outside the door behind the lead- what a perfect silhouette he created. It shows that director/writer David Benullo cared a lot about this short because you can feel that his heart was fully there.
Even though the film played out nicely, the FX seemed expensive and at times the directing was top-notch, something in the production value felt weak. I’m thinking the cinematography could have been a touch better; maybe it needed some overtones for texture? The actual look of the film made me feel like I was watching something made for TV and in the end it hurt my experience with the short.
But overall I did have a really good time with ‘Shadowman’ and would be interested in seeing what David can conjure up next. I think he’s got the directing aspect down to a “T”, but overall he needs to work a little bit more on atmosphere and then he’ll be ready to blow us all away with his first feature film.