January 14, 2015 Reverb (Movie Review)
Reverb is a short film, directed by Samantha Paradise (Plugged 2013, Conscious 2013) and distributed by Kharybdis Films (Pisces 2010, Plugged 2013). Reverb premiered at the Nightmare Before Christmas: An Evening of Short Films on the 20th December 2014 in Philadelphia. Starring Amy Frear (Grassroots 2012, Maya 2013) as Helia, a young woman living alone in an isolated but scenic place. Her daily routine is the same: she gets out of bed, puts on her bunny slippers, drinks coffee, brushes her teeth, takes her medication, and gets on with her day. At the beginning of the film she speaks to friends on her cell phone about her recent break up with her boyfriend, which she initially says is amicable. Each night she receives a call on her cell from ‘Cupcake’, which she does not answer.
Helia starts hearing noises outside but cant seem to find the source. As the days progress she begins telling her friends that her ex boyfriend took the breakup badly. Each night she gets less sleep and is disturbed by phone calls, and strange noises. Banging sounds in her closet reveal to the viewer a mysterious man’s bloodied and lifeless body in her closet, but it is unclear whether or not she sees it there. That night, the strange noises are accompanied by more phone calls and a hooded prowler outside. Fortunately he disappears and Helia goes back to sleep. The next morning her boyfriend, “Cupcake” (Brian Dunn, Hayride: A Haunted Attraction 2014, ImagiGARY 2015) comes to visit Helia, concerned about some text and photo messages he has received that appear to show Helia in compromising positions. It appears that Cupcake isn’t the boyfriend she broke up with, or she is placating him as she bakes cakes.
Helia tries to explain herself to Cupcake but her behavior grows increasingly stranger, and she reverts back to an almost childlike state. It is then at the films final moments that all the pieces of the puzzle fall together, revealing disturbing truths about Helia, Cupcake, and her fascination with baking. Only two actors appear in Reverb, Helia and Cupcake, each having to portray the depth of their character in a short time frame. Reverb provides a full story arc in 16 minutes, which is difficult to achieve; like a drabble in film form. A well thought-out story that makes full use of the edginess of Helia’s solitude, and maintains an even, yet fast pace from beginning to end. Some parts are slightly exaggerated, but exceptionally written, shot, and directed. Definitely one to keep an eye on, Ms. Paradise is headed for a bright future. CrypticRock scores Reverb 4 out of 5.