One can never be certain what to expect when dealing with an up-and-coming filmmaker who opts, whether out of budgetary concerns or artistic vision, to tackle multiple roles within the production of the film. While it can be a major concern and catastrophe, such is the not the case with Jarno Lee Vinsencius's sci-fi/thriller short Darkness Falls, an involving and beautiful to behold film for which Vinsencius acted as writer, director, cinematographer, editor and producer. Despite carrying all these roles, Vinsencius has crafted a mighty fine film with Darkness Falls.
The film has already picked up prizes early in its festival journey after having also played at the Cannes Short Film Corner. The film won Best Sci-Fi Short at Outlanta Con Film Festival and Best Cinematography at Roswell FIlm Festival. With over a dozen festival screenings on its schedule, it's safe to say that Darkness Falls is destined to be a festival favorite.
Darkness Falls centers around a young woman named Melissa (Joanna Haggblom), who wakes up in a wintry forest unaware of how she arrived at the location and seemingly even unable to recall her own identify. Before long, she begins to experience nightmares and receives a letter from David (Demis Tzivis) that declares to be able to explain what is happening to her.
To the credit of Vinsencius, one is never completely sure exactly what is unfolding in Darkness Falls, though the hypnotic lensing and production design elicit a sense of paranoia and uncertainty that permeates every cell of the film.
Darkness Falls does a lot of what I've come to expect from other Swedish films, telling a big story in an intimate way. It's the kind of film that feels perfectly complete by film's end, yet it also practically begs for more time to flesh out these characters.
Haggblom is extraordinary as Melissa, embodying both her vulnerability and paranoia yet never becoming histrionic. Tzivis does a terrific job of keeping you guessing and maintaining your attention throughout the film's 15-minute running time.
For more information on the film, visit its official website linked to in the credits on the left.