Firstly, I’d just like to say thank you to BrickWall Studios and Co-Writer/Director, Brian Patrick Lim for allowing me access to an online screener of his third short film, “Marian”. Marian is a 15 minute, Horror/Drama short from the Philippines, centering on a household haunting. Young, Marian (played by Johanah Basanta) discovers there’s more to the contact she’s been having with a family member than meets the eye. The film also stars Astarte Abraham and Paw Aya Bugarin.
Lim assembled a sizeable crew for his latest undertaking and the result is an atmospheric and darkly psychological creation. Brian shot and edited Marian and the quality of the cinematography is high-class. Each sequence is nicely framed and some of the gentle panning looks great. My favourite shot comes as a fearful Marian hides under the bed, looking out awaiting what might be on the other side of the door. I don’t know how Brian went about scouting this location but I’m sure glad he was able to obtain it. The old dilapidated exteriors of the Victorian style manor look seriously stylish and the creaking of the floorboards works a treat for the film’s audio bed. It may be indirectly but there’s a feel of folklore regarding restless spirits and protected children in Marian. I rather liked the lighting and set design and Toni Munoz’s piano ballad that plays throughout the opening of the film too. Not since Nicholas McCarthy’s “The Pact”, have I seen such heavy themes addressed within the parameters of a Horror film. Marian is well acted and has its fair share of disturbing visuals (even with the short run time). A special mention to the makeup department for a wonderful job on the effects.
Despite running just under 15 minutes, Marian does stagger a little in its pacing. There are one or two sequences that could have been cut down marginally just to tighten things up. The scene that comes to mind involves some rather nasty abuse that you’ll likely want to see over before it’s even started. I understand the context of said scene, it’s meant to be confronting, but audiences still aren’t going to like it. There’s a couple of sections with obvious ADR (additional dialogue recording), which was a surprise to me considering the set was seemingly a singular controlled location. While the practical effects are commendable, the CG enhancements on the blood look a little amateurish.
Marian is the first film of Brian Patrick Lim’s that I’ve seen, and overall I was pleased with the result. I commend him on directing, shooting and editing the film, it all looks great. I love the location, the set design and the themes on display are quite different for the genre. The acting is good, so to the practical effects work during the final act. I think a couple of scenes could’ve been shortened and Brian could’ve opted for more of the practical rather than CG during the films final scene. Minor issues aside, Marian is a great short film and a memorable one at that. It’s currently available for viewing at Crypt TV. You can find the link below, Enjoy!
My rating for “Marian” is 8/10