Firstly, I’d just like to say thank you to Jumper Productions and Writer/Director, Kate Dolan for allowing me early access to an online screener of her 8 minute, Horror/Thriller short “Catcalls”. Catcalls sees a man (played by Martin O’Sullivan) ask a pair of girls for directions, but then proceeds to flash them for a cheap rouse. The man’s choosing proves to be a huge mistake when he discovers that the two girls are on the prowl themselves and will stop at nothing to get their bait. The film also stars Edel Murphy, Cesca Saunders and Sarah Kinlen.
I originally stumbled across some press for this latest short from Irish filmmaker, Katie Dolan and it sounded intriguing. The industry in general, needs more women in these creative positions and if Catcalls is anything to go by, they’ve got plenty to show us all. Experienced DP, Piers McGrail (The Cured and The Canal) had me immediately hooked right from the slick opening shots inside the car where we’re introduced to Paul (O’Sullivan), as he roams the streets looking for an alleviation of sorts. Everything is perfectly framed and the slow motion sequence that plays to the sounds of a 50’s or 60’s blues tune is effective. I even like the reverse shot looking through the back window of the car as Paul drives away. The production design is really what makes Catcalls look as professional as it does though. The external shots are laced with a moody fog and everything is atmospherically lit, both inside and out of Paul and Jenny’s (Kinlen) home. The audio track is natural and consistent with some of Steve Lynch’s nerve jangling score rising to great effect. There’s very minimal dialogue but each of the actors are reliable when it comes to hitting the desired emotional surges. The special effects for the cat design are impressive, aided by some well-defined lighting in the dying stages of the film. A closing aftermath shot showcases some solid practical blood as well.
Some blood spray for the climactic action sequence would’ve been a welcomed addition.
It’s hard to picture a short film this year that, has, or will, outclass Katie Dolan’s “Catcalls”. It’s ultimately a cautionary tale about the dangers of trolling, a little reminiscent of other shorts like “Bye Bye Baby” and “The Smiling Man” but even better. The cinematography is immensely polished, the lighting exquisite and the score fittingly suspenseful. The performances are on point and the effects team did a great job of bringing the creature element of the film to life. My only nitpick criticism was that I wanted to see some blood spray, that and I simply just didn’t want the film to end. Catcalls is currently playing on the festival circuit but you can check out the official trailer below! Trust me, you’re not going to want to miss this one!
My rating for “Catcalls” is 9/10