I’m a sucker for Halloween films, so when a short independent film called Sloven arrived in our mailbox the synopsis caught my eye.
It’s All Hallows Eve and Steve (Baker Chase Powell) is on the way back to his apartment to freshen up before heading out to a party.
Frustratingly he returns to find that his flatmate has left the place in a bad state, apparently having had a party there with friends earlier in the day.
Amongst the mess of plastic cups, used napkins and half eaten food Steve finds a creepy looking Halloween costume that seems to have been left by one of the revellers.
After giving the place a thoroughly cleaning and putting it all right, he gets himself ready to go partying. But as he re-enters the sitting room he notices that someone has messed the place up again.
But there’s no sign of life. Just that curious, creepy costume…
From the film maker’s perspective, the beauty of a short horror film is that you can tell a story with limited crew and budget and have the whole thing made in a short space of time. The tricky part is being able to tell an interesting story that makes sense bound by these same constraints.
Thankfully, Sloven manages to do this well.
By keeping the story centred in one location and by only having one cast member on screen, the production is kept simple and costs are kept down. Far too many budding film makers fall foul of over-size plans with grand locations, special effects and a big cast, leaving themselves open to far too many risks.
The intimacy of Sloven works well. Although you only have a short space of time to get to know Steve the story is crafted in such a way that we can connect with him quickly and that helps us to fear for his safety (and generally feel uneasy).
Phone calls are put to good use to add more context to the scenario. And ‘now you see me, now you don’t’ scares are employed to bring inanimate objects to life, filling the small, unassuming apartment with terror.
Sloven is short, simple and straight forward. And while it didn’t make me scream in fear, it’s a solid short that could be a good foundation for a full length feature.
There’s a lot of competition in this area at the moment with new, exciting short horror films appearing everyday. But writer/director Marc Cartwright has made sure that his film is noticed by handling everything from inception to promotion thoughtfully. As a result, Sloven is an entertaining watch that has already won an award.
Best of all, you can watch Sloven, right now, right here (see below)…