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The Independent Critic

Louise Elliker, Lewis Hyman, Simon Victor
Callum Windsor
Charlie Parkin (Screenwriter), Marisol Suarez (Writer), Callum Windsor (Screenwriter)
13 Mins.

 "The Erl King" A Creepy, Effective Horror Short 
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There's been lots of good stuff happening for The Independent Critic these days, but one of the down sides to increased visibility and popularity is finding myself massively behind my usual review schedule. Unfortunately, more than a few films have gotten left behind due to a busy festival schedule and the move toward what will be one of the weirdest award seasons in years. 

Callum Windsor's The Erl King is a 13-minute horror short that I wish I'd managed to catch a little earlier, a thoughtful and engaging short film that weaves together elements of traditional horror, deep folklore, and emotionally resonant storytelling to create a full-on entertaining short film that has also picked up a handful of awards in its own indie fest run. 

Inspired by Goethe's Erlkönig, The Erl King centers around the story of young Alfie (Lewis Hyman), a traumatized boy whose father (Simon Victor) recently died in a car accident while he was trying to steal the boy from his mother (Louise Elliker). While Alfie is on the road to recovery physically, the mind isn't always quick to recover and Alfie's mother struggles to establish a relationship with him while Alfie seems closer than ever to his now deceased father. 

It's how Windsor brings this all to life that is utterly captivating, a melding together brought wondrously to life by Lewis Hyman's enthralling performance as Alfie that is simultaneously filled with mystery and vulnerability. The film accomplishes major things on a microcinema budget, though Hyman himself deserves considerable credit for creating a character you simply can't stop watching. 

Simon Victor has the most to chew on here, creating a rather compelling father figure and also nailing a dual role that is best left undescribed. Suffice it to say he doesn't quite seem the fatherly sort yet he's most certainly got a hold on his young son. As the mother whose ache is palpable, Louise Elliker radiates vulnerability yet also bewilderment as the connection she aspires to create seems beyond her reach. 

Charlie Parkin's original music is immersive and satisfying, while Parkin also lenses the film and nicely captures the film's more tender and horrifying moments with equal impact. 

The Erl King is now available to view yourself and you can sit right here on The Independent Critic and watch it directly above this review or on Youtube. 

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic