Firstly, I’d just like to say thank you to Three Tales Productions and Writer/Director, Wesley Alley for allowing me early access to an online screener of his 4 minute Horror/Thriller short, “SockMonster”. SockMonster is a micro short that opens with an emotionally charged, Anne (played by the stunning Briana Evigan of the “Step Up” Franchise) whose sitting on the laundry floor, drink in hand, struggling with the loss of her child and contemplating her own life. The cycle of washing ends but Anne has no idea what’s in store for her on the other side. The film also stars Derek Mears (Friday The 13th). It’s wonderful to see someone like Alley, whose built a career primarily in the Camera and Electrical Department, now transitioning into Writing and Directing. It’s artists like Wes who have inspired people like myself to try their hand at it too. He’s worked on everything from smaller independent projects such as “Gravy” and “Don Jon”, all the way through to blockbusters like “Kong: Skull Island” and “Transformers: The Last Knight” and it’s clearly served as great preparation for his move to behind the camera. Teaming up with well-respected genre filmmaker, Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw 2,3,4 and Mother’s Day) certainly hasn’t done him any harm either.
I first heard about SockMonster a few months ago and the poster art caught my eye. I’d read that Evigan (who I’ve long been a fan of) would feature, and I’ve always had a lot of respect for actors who are willing to work in the short medium regardless of the limited exposure. SockMonster is an interesting concept (even reminding me of an idea I’ve been floating for a while) and it’s entertainingly presented despite the darker subject matter. DP, Austin Schmidt (The Last Shift) presents us with some high quality cinematography. There’s nice gentle movements, slick close-ups and an extremely clever rotating motion as Anne peers into the machine while it slowly comes to a halt. Robert Reider won’t be a name people are familiar with but he’s been working in sound for the better part of ten years. I’ve got a number of films that he’s worked on (they’re still wrapped up in plastic though!) and his somber piano score complements the drama here nicely. I’m going to avoid spoilers, but what I will say is that Derek Mears is even more unrecognisable in this particular role than usual (watch the film and you’ll understand why). Briana has already proven her expressive acting chops, look no further than “Burning Bright” (a little known masterpiece of white knuckle tension), and yet again she handles this with ease. Hitting all the right emotional beats to make you sympathise with Anne despite knowing very little about the crux of her plight. The highlight of SockMonster comes in the form of some superb practical fx work in the closing moments.
My only complaint is with some of the opening quick cuts and frenetic imagery, that and I wasn’t sure what to take away from details surrounding Anne’s daughter (though that just means there’s something more to elaborate on in the future I guess).
Despite him having made four other short films, SockMonster is my first official look at Alley as a filmmaker and he’s certainly leading with the right foot. This is a dark and twisted micro short conceived by a bunch of really talented artists. Schmidt’s camera work looks sharp, Reider’s sound and score build ample atmosphere and Briana’s silent performance oozes conviction. The climax is ultimately the kicker here and it’s sure to be a set piece horror fans can revel in. A couple of minor personal preference issues aside, SockMonster takes an early lead in the running for the best short film of 2018! Great stuff and I look forward to more from Bousman and Alley! Keep an eye out for this one later in the year.
My rating for “SockMonster” is 9/10