Firstly, I’d just like to say thank you to Samantha Kristy at October Coast PR and Look At Me Films for allowing me early access to an online screener of the the 11-minute thriller short “Dear Guest”, Written and Directed by Megan Freels Johnston (The Ice Cream Truck). Dear Guest sees a young couple (played by the talented pairing of Ashley Bell and Noureen DeWulf) making the most of some much needed down time by renting out a house for a relaxing weekend. Upon arrival, they discover that the home owner has plenty of fun and games in store for them.
Dear Guest is quick to set in place its premise of uncertainty inside what appears to be a seemingly lovely and safe environment. Our somewhat sensitive couple of Jules (DeWulf) and Maria (Bell) arrive at the idyllic home to meet the mystery owner, who as luck would have it, never arrives. Maria ultimately finds a note decreed “Dear Guest”, in which the scriber details a random scenario the women must complete in order to survive. The technical aspects of Dear Guest are all very impressive. From Stephen Tringali’s (a DP with a number of shorts under his belt) sharp cinematography and Jacob Yoffee’s understated but quirky score, to the clean edit and the vibrant color grade. Dear Guest is a punchy little short with solid performances and a premise somewhat reminiscent of ideas we’ve seen explored in shows like “Black Mirror” and “The Twilight Zone”. My only gripe with the film is that there’s really no attempt to explain the particulars behind why these women can’t leave the house. Sure, they try and open the doors, they’re locked. But what about just smashing the glass and walking out? At the end of the day it’s just glass, so what was stopping them doing that? There’s a slow zoom that eventually rests on a statue by the pool, I’m not sure what the relevance of that was, if anything? Those couple of issues aside, Dear Guest is a great little short that’s now available for streaming via YouTube, if you want to check it out you can find the link below.
Dear Guest – 8/10