The Short List is our running list of notable short features available online. Every week, we share one short film which we think deserves to be watched by many. The short films included in our list can come from any country but has to be publicly available online.
“Reverse” is a gift. During its brisk runtime, you get about a dozen volumes’ worth of film school curriculum about how to mount horror and suspense.
The film is directed by Australian filmmaker Josh Tanner, who’s built quite an impressive filmography of short genre films. “Reverse” is his best one thus far.
Following a man shuffling to his beatdown Toyota Corolla (it could be a Camry, who knows?), the film situates us in a very familiar scenario. The man, played by Joel Stanton, surrogates the mundaneness of everything: sat in the comfort of his own car, pulled to reverse, and slackly maneuvers out of a parking slot.
But something’s outside. And though he’s using a smart IoT-tech in something as seemingly as far-behind as a years-old sedan, the tech oddly works. And it picks up something that’s not there.
The rest plays out as you’d expect. But the genius behind “Reverse” is how efficient it is in its approach. The film’s five-minute running time is stretched by blotches of dread made prominent by its undulating score and laser-sharp editing. The scare comes after, unfiltered and undiluted and enriched by the film’s studious setup of suspense.
It’s worth noting how “Reverse” lines up perfectly with modern technophobic horror-thrillers (“Pulse”, “Unfriended”, and “Upgrade” are immediate examples).
They say horror is supposed to put a mirror of things we subconsciously fear. These are things we see, deep down, as true monsters. In “Reverse”, much like the other films I’ve mentioned, technology is put under a cynic lens. No longer is it an ally but in itself a bogeyman waiting for the first opportune time to attack.
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