Firstly I’d just like to say thank you to Writer/Director, Christopher Moore for allowing me access to an online screener of his 8 minute, Horror/Comedy short “Knob Goblins”. Knob Goblins is about R.J (played by Michael Williams), a young mental patient who returns to his childhood home with hopes of facing the fear he carries surrounding his younger brother’s death. The film also stars Tom Gore, Jaysen Buterin, Christopher Houldsworth and Yale Giffin.
The film’s tagline says it all (haha), absolute gold. The concept behind Moore’s short isn’t necessarily a unique one but it doesn’t make the thing any less enjoyable. Joe Dante’s family friendly, “Gremlins” is probably the clear “creature feature” that over the years helped shape other filmmakers ideas. Knob Goblins opens with a simple and clever hand drawn title, with complimentary stick figures to boot. The film’s production value is impressive. There’s a couple of nice wide shots in the opening few minutes and some steady close camera work for the remainder, the framing distances are consistent as well. Certain shots in the basement of R.J’s childhood home take advantage of the depth of field and result in some great focus shots. The audio levels are nice and clear and there’s a striking score that consists of violin and cello.
The short is set during the day so there’s a great mix of natural lighting plus some really effective light that eases its way through parts of the basement during the climax of the short. The performances from the all male cast were good, the line delivery flows evenly and never feels too scripted. The strongest aspect here was the choice to make a practical goblin, I really respect that. Now it’s not all that great, essentially looking like a cross between one of Dustin Mills’s puppets or something out of Dave Parker’s micro-budget film “Slimy Little Bastards” crossed with the little demon from “Dead On Appraisal”. The important thing was the effort behind it and because the lighting is well conceived it comes off looking better than it should, plus there’s some red stuff in there too.
8 minutes really isn’t enough time to find anything to complain about, if I had an issue it would be with the lack of reaction from the group during the final moments involving R.J. A point that also ties in with the fact that it would have been great to see a body count and some more crazy special effects but I also understand with limited time and money that’s not always possible.
Knob Goblins gave me exactly what I was hoping for, 8 minutes of pure entertainment which is more than some entire films give me. It should come as no surprise that with Christopher’s previous experience on short films, he’s got a clear grasp on the technical know how as well as the ability to conceive a fun and entertaining premise. I really hope this is just a stepping stone toward a Knob Goblins full length feature because that’s something I would definitely jump on board for! Do yourself a favor and check this one out.
My rating for “Knob Goblins” is 9/10