Welcome to Dirty Shorts, an ongoing series in which we present to you reviews of short horror films for your amusement, enlightenment, and possible chagrin. We are not responsible if you fail to be amused or enlightened.
Directed by Toni Tikkanen
THE STORY: A young girl, both asleep and awake, navigates fractured nightmarish images of her mother, father and a stranger.
THE RUNDOWN: The Silent manages to check several boxes off what was once considered to be the stereotypical foreign film. Think Ingmar Bergman in the 1950’s (The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries). The stark, static cinematography coupled with the lack of dialog and symbolic presentation does harken to a very European tendency to let shots and moments unfold without rushing. While this film does owe a hefty debt to Bergman’s works, modern film technique allows for a precision that the master never had access to. Anyway, he’s dead and we’re alive, so let’s move on.
From a technical standpoint and execution of the vision of writer/director, Toni Tikkanen, this film is nearly flawless. Every shot really is a painting. Ville Asikainen’s camera work shows someone who can maintain the spatial narrative, that is to say even if you don’t know where you are, as an audience member you understand why you’re there on the primal level. If I have one complaint, it’s that every shot is so beautiful, that one doesn’t stand out from the rest. Michael Bay’s movies tend to have shot after shot that suggests importance and weight, a direct result of his background in making commercials. So, Asikainen, every shot is gorgeous and I hate you, I hate you, I hate you. You’re too good at your job.
Salla Luhtala’s score is the glue that holds the whole thing together acting as kind of Greek chorus that allows the audience to have a subconscious narrative keeping the film going. The score lays somewhere between ghostly moans and people who haven’t learned to speak a language. Ethereal. Luminescent. Thorough.
Also, really good call not letting the child actor speak. Like really good choice. However, the girl (Frida Rossi) never once took out of my suspension of disbelief. And going a step further, she kind of killed it. With more than a bit of help from the editing team, they made her look like a million bucks.
So let’s do our spoiler warning. Are we warned? Have we watched the movie? Then proceed.
The girl is dead, right? There’s not much debate. I mean if there is, please debate down in the comments. Crap, now I’m thinking about it, maybe the parents are dead. Maybe all of them are dead. Is the Stranger death? An angel of? Is he a doctor? This film shows and doesn’t tell at all. It also doesn’t shoot for the lowest common denominator. The Silent assumes your intelligence and asks what do you think happened.
So, what do you think happened?
WHAT MOVIE SHOULD I WATCH AFTER THIS? Jacob’s Ladder, the Virgin Suicides, Haute Tension (2003), Quantum Leap S3EP1: The Leap Home (pt. 1)
Images courtesy of YouTube
Writer. Wrestling mark. Dog parent. Halloween enthusiast. Always wondering about the me on Earth 616 and what he/she/it’s up to. Currently residing in Los Angeles.