She Must Vanish (Review) Hell hath no fury…



Firstly, I’d just like to say a big thank you to Red Razor Pictures and Writer/Director, Kyle Martellacci for allowing me early access to an online screener of his latest short film, the 13-minute Horror/Drama, “She Must Vanish”. She Must Vanish is set in a quaint seaside town where residents are slowly being absorbed by an evil witch (played by Anne-Carolyne Binette), that is until the locals initiate an uprising. The film also stars Renny Jachowicz, Valerie Taller, and Meri Spencer. Martellacci, a Canadian, along with his production company, began putting out some really solid short content way back in 2012/13. I’ve since had the privilege of reviewing a couple of his recent films in “The Scarlet Vultures” and “Candy Skin”, both of which I enjoyed to varying extents. In a way, She Must Vanish feels like it’s part of the same interconnected world as the former, and once again, the technical execution is the main feature separating Kyle’s work from his same independent counterparts.

Content aside, the one thing that always jumps out at me with Red Razor is the technical craft and the standard of production value. Kyle tends to shoot the majority of his films himself, and once again the cinematography in She Must Vanish is one of the highlights. The shot choices and gentle zooming feel reminiscent of something like “Don’t Look Now”, a film where the camera is often on the move, even if subtly. The edit is quite good and the early use of warm reds and blues in the superbly lit hotel room scene helps to break up the dreariness of what is mostly a cold Canadian setting. Matthew Rees’s use of synth is very Nicolas Winding Refn Esq (The Neon Demon), and the ambient and eerie tones are complete with warping double bass and serve to enhance the mystery element. The action can aptly be described as transitory but the upside is the practical fx that are on-screen do look pretty solid.

I’ll be the first to admit that Kyle’s marketing (namely that poster) caught me a little off guard. Unfortunately, I was expecting something more along the lines of a Giallo inspired thriller rather than a non-descript witching story. I wasn’t fully invested in Mia’s character arc, particularly due to the absence of motivation. What were her reasons for slowly culling that town? Where did it all stem from? One such interaction with a man named Darren felt like it was building to something but then just like that, it was over. A couple of the aesthetics lack consistency as well, such as the color and texture of the blood. Whilst I think it’s a competently made film, She Must Vanish just feels like it lacks verve and therefore I can’t help but feel like the same end could’ve been reached in 7 or 8 minutes instead of a long-winded 13. I’m always going to be down for checking out new short films from Red Razor Pictures though. Kyle’s got a great eye and plenty of variety dispersed among his works, however, I do think a little more focus needs to be applied to both pacing and his storytelling in the future. I still enjoyed She Must Vanish, and if you’re a fan of the witchcraft sub-genre of horror I think you’re likely to get a little more out of this one than I did. Check out the official trailer below and keep an eye out for it soon!

She Must Vanish – 5.5/10