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The Independent Critic

Alexandria Stilley, Austin Perkins
Sri Kandula
9 Mins.

 "The Virtues of Solitude" Set for North American Premiere 

Philadelphia's Rough Cut Film Festival is the setting for writer/director Sri Kandula's July 17th North American premiere of the 9-minute short film The Virtues of Solitude, a suspenseful horror short set in the future after a second great flood covers most of the world. Country borders have collapsed and language barriers disappeared, with all salvageable books having been taken to a deep underground vault known as The Stacks. The Stacks is a facility run by priests, a mysterious and eerie place where Olivia (Alexandria Stilley) wanders about until she realizes that she may very well not be alone and a presence from her past may very well have followed her into this underground purgatory. 

While IMDB lists The Virtues of Solitude as a horror short, it's more suspenseful than horrifying and disjointed than truly unsettling. Shot on an iPhone over the course of two days by Indian-American filmmaker Kandula, The Virtues of Solitude amps up that disjointed sensibility with Tom Bloxam's jarring original score and Kandula's own shadowy, paranoia induced lensing. Producer/co-star Alexandria Stilley carries most of the weight in terms of performance, her fevered anticipation building as the film's drama amps up. Austin Perkins' presence is ominous and slowly revealed over the course of the film's nine-minute running time. 

As is true of nearly any ultra-low budget film, The Virtues of Solitude struggles at times to accomplish a lot with very little, though it's an engaging motion picture that should be able to find a home on the indie/experimental film fest circuit. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic