IN THE NIGHT
I’d just like to start off by saying thank you to first time Writer/Director, Joshua Erkman for allowing me access to an online screener of his 10 minute Horror/Thriller short “In The Night”. In The Night opens with two men patiently waiting in a van. It’s AJ’s first night on the job (played by Australia’s very own, Keir O’Donnell of FX’s “Fargo”), working for a mortuary transporting bodies. Driver and ten-year plus veteran, Ron (Rob Zabrecky) shares a story with the rookie about his most memorable night on the job. When Ron decides to take a toilet break, AJ is left wondering if the noise in the back of the van will become his very own tale of terror to tell. The film also stars Michael Villar.
It’s clear from the outset that In The Night is a high production value short from first time filmmaker, Erkman. It plays as more of a dialogue driven mystery than it does a conventional horror short, Joshua opting for more of what you don’t see than anything jump scare orientated. DP, Elie Smolkin has a number of credits to his name, most notably fan favorite horror flick, “The Final Girls”. In The Night is conceived around tight simplistic framing and really good backlighting from the car park in which the short is set. It also helps that audio levels for those interactions between the two are clear and concise. The sound department also did a superb job of building tension with an escalating underscore and some cool synth. It’s really the combination of O’Donnell and Zabrecky that makes In The Night a most impressive debut short though. I’ve been a fan of Keir’s ever since “After Sex” back in 07′ and from his time spent on TV’s “Sons Of Anarchy” all the way through to the aforementioned TV series of “Fargo”. He’s good here with limited material, but my sense from the start was that Zabrecky comes across as more the main character of the piece. Rob’s got plenty of natural ability and a great sense of timing when it comes to the storytelling component of the film, which is of course the best part.
The ending left a slightly sour taste in my mouth, if for no other reason than I thought there’d be more to the developing situation.
In The Night is one of the best debut efforts you’re likely to see from any young filmmaker in the business. The idea behind the film is eerie and intriguing, the cinematography crisp and the sound really well mixed. There’s impressive performances from Keir and Rob, some moody backlighting, and suspense in all the right places. If not for the lack-lustre ending, this one would be about as good as they come. As it stands, it’s an impressive 10 minutes that I suggest everyone check out when they get the opportunity.
My rating for “In The Night” is 8.5/10