An award-winning horror comedy short out of Australia, Too Dark is set for screening at the Seattle Shorts Film Festival after having already picked up several screenings and a Best Director prize for Sean Lahiff at the Peninsula Short Film Festival.
In the film, Jess (Sarah Jeavons) is a beautiful teenage girl being chased through the forest by the semi-maniacal killer Sack Head (Brendan Rock). The problem? Either Sack Head isn't exactly the most menacing killer ever or he's simply having a really awful night.
Having worked within the editorial departments of multiple noteworthy films, such as my beloved The Babadook and the Wolf Creek TV mini-series, director Sean Lahiff clearly understands the elements of horror comedy. With three other shorts completed and one in post-production, Lahiff has crafted a film that feels like it's part homage/part parody with ample doses of both suspense and humor.
The film's cast is fine here, though I can't deny that the film just never clicked on all its cylinders for me despite the leading duo's positive chemistry and many of the ingredients that usually comprise a winning horror short. Taken as a parody, Too Dark is a more effective short film with Dave Haddin's dialogue at times mirroring that practically anyone experiences while sitting in a darkened theatre watching any number of the pop culture horror franchises. Unfortunately, at least for this critic, the humor was hit-and-miss and without that humor to cling to there were moments, even with a mere seven minute film, where it just felt dry.
I will confess, however, that Too Dark got a re-visit from me after one of those late night things where the cinematic gods woke me up at 3am and told me that I missed something. They were right and I found myself inching the film up a bit with the continued observation that while it may not click for me it may very well do so for you as has been evidenced by its early review and fest reception. Bravo. The joy of the indie film scene is it's possible to find something for everyone and despite my own reluctance with the film in a world with a noticeable lack of quality horror comedy shorts it's definitely worth checking out. For more information on the Seattle Short Film Festival, where the film will screen as part of the Women in Film Block on 11/12 at 3:50pm at SIFF Film Center. For more information on the film festival, visit the Seattle Shorts website.