Hazard (Review)

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HAZARD

THE SETUP

Firstly, I’d just like to say thank you to Co-Writer/Director, William Capps for offering me a link to his 10 minute, Horror short called “Hazard”. Hazard is a quickie about a group of four small town criminals who kidnap a random girl (played by Shelby Taylor Mullins), along with the guy they believe has been doing business on their turf. What starts as a simple interrogation, quickly turns deadly once the man reveals his true identity. The film also stars Jason Crowe (The Legend Of Wasco), Katie Stewart (The Wicked One) and Dale Miller (Kill, Granny, Kill!). I came across a write-up for this one at DreadCentral.com and thought it sounded like an interesting addition to the slasher style, sub-genre.

THE GOOD

The nasty mask worn by the man on the poster, is initially what caught my attention. I’m a sucker for just about any horror film where the villain dons a mask, and even with the poster reminding me somewhat of 2009’s “Cornered!”, I still dig it. I love Capps interesting mix of shot choices for Hazard. There’s a nice, albeit brief, tracking shot in the beginning during a chase sequence involving the masked man. Once the interrogation component gets under way, there’s some effective shots at characters feet and some slick close-ups as well. All of the framing is consistent, as is the audio track. I enjoyed some of the static and electric bass score, but more so toward the start. Ten minutes is only a short window of time to try to amp up the action, especially with the cool twist that’s thrown into this one, but the blood does flow a bit and it’s mostly practical.

THE BAD

As much as the artwork got me keen for this one, the design of the killer bears a striking resemblance to, “The Laughing Mask” killer from Michael Aguiar’s film of the same name. It’s not so much the mask (which is more like The Orphan Killer design) as it is the attire. The dress shirt, the vest and tie, and even the weapon of choice being a knife. It’s all exactly the same specifics as the aforementioned villain. There’s so much horror content out there that I guess it’s almost inevitable that you’ll find uncanny similarities at some point. I wasn’t a big fan of the series of quick cuts and edits after The Driver and Woman are first shown being held captive. The fusion sounds and background score also became a little repetitive, and there’s no doubt that the gore effects were done on the cheap, they don’t look great. My biggest issue with Hazard was our lead girl’s (played by Mullins) lack of panic or urgency in the situation thrust upon her. While gagged, there’s no intense struggle, and when the tape eventually comes off, the desperation just isn’t there. I found her acting a little weak but she may have just been doing what was represented in the script.

Hazard is an average entry into the Horror short genre, but an entertaining enough way to kill ten minutes. I really enjoyed the cinematography and the audio was clean, in turn giving this a high production value feel. Some of the score worked and there was some practical blood spray. Its some of the creative choices that didn’t do anything for me, and there was a series of unconvincing reactions by Shelby’s character regarding anything resembling fear. Minus the interesting twist here, the lack of originality is unfortunately what puts a damper on this one. If you’re looking to kill ten minutes and you like your horror, you can go ahead and check it out for yourself, just click the link below.

My rating for “Hazard” is 5.5.10

Hazard: Horror Short Film

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