THE WORLD OVER
Firstly, I’d just like to say thank you to Jasmine Durand at ChicArt Public Relations for forwarding me an online screener of “The World Over”, a 17 minute Horror/Mystery short Written and Directed by Heath C. Michaels. The World Over is a “Twilight Zone” esq short about a young couple, Cass and Jules (played respectively by Tess Granfield and Brett Keating) that discover a key to a doorway in their home that leads to an alternate reality. After curiosity gets the better of the man of the house, Cass is left to fend for herself and eventually comes face to face with her Doppelganger during a strange series of events.
Michael’s first screenplay in almost a decade has its foundations deep-seated in the world of science fiction, calling to mind the aforementioned “Twilight Zone” or even “The Outer Limits”. It’s an ambient-filled thriller with plenty of mystery about it, and the two performances are very good. Gaffer and DP, Greg LeFevre (whose worked on a number of films over the last ten years), showcases some smart and simple camera work. It’s all appropriately framed, there’s subtle movements and it’s all wonderfully edited by Kevin Hickman (an experienced first assistant editor). I particularly liked the time-lapse that highlights Cass’s pregnancy progress. The audio track is nice and loud and the low-fi synth score keeps it feeling grounded in that other worldly niche. It’s not an overly effects heavy film, but the limited visuals representing the gateway were well handled and professional looking. There are a few brief moments of action and some practical blood on display too.
From a technical standpoint, there were only a couple of minor issues I had. In a handful of shots during the first third of the short, faces were often halve shadowed, probably due to the natural light only hitting one side of the room. It was just a little distracting at times. There’s also a whole scene that’s lit using only candles, and seemingly there was no probable reason for Michaels to have done so, other than perhaps just curbing some creative license. After looking over the press kit, I discovered that The World Over was intended as a proof of concept idea for a feature-length film that’ll further explore the notion of parallel universes. Now that’s a good thing, because I had plenty more questions. I was hoping that perhaps when Cass approached herself again on the other side of the doorway, she might have had some more questions. She may not have got any answers, but I would’ve liked to have seen her try. The situation didn’t look like eliciting that from her.
I was pleasantly surprised to find the link to The World Over in my inbox because I hadn’t heard anything about it, but I’m all for new content. I love the Mystery/Thriller genre and this one is shrouded in ambiguity and screaming out for expansion. The cinematography is good, the sound design and score atmospheric and the visuals more than serviceable. The characters are well portrayed by Granfield and Keating and there’s a couple of interesting occurrences. A couple of minor technical things can mostly be chalked up to personal preference, but I would’ve enjoyed seeing Cass pry into the workings of the domain more than she did. The World Over should make for a great feature-length film though, and I, for one, can’t wait to see it. Check out the teaser trailer below and if you enjoy films like “Enemy” and “Persona” keep and eye out for this one soon!
My rating for “The World Over” is 8/10