"Bathing in their blood, man that's f**ked up"- Mickey
On what appears to be a sort of bonding exercise two serial killers are deep in the woods digging a hole, any guesses why? Mickey appears new to the game, but is getting down and dirty with it, while Harker seems to have encyclopaedic knowledge of serial killers and clearly isn't at his first cumquat sale. Eventually we discover they have the body of a young woman in the back of their SUV, and Mickey, who is like the apprentice, has the job of interring her.
Naturally Mickey is slightly clumsy and manages to cut himself. While seeking a band aid he gives our victim time to recover from a botched strangulation and she is soon working out ways to stay alive. Get ready for two serial killers versus one little lady, this is going to get nasty before someone comes out on top. Buckle in team we're visiting serial killer land Kiwi style!
So here it is October 2017 and we haven't covered even one short and last year we only talked about one, we're simply piss weak Reviewers folks, and are failing at keeping the site agenda foremost. We rock all Aussie and Kiwi horror in whatever format it comes in, as long as that format is visual. So let's start getting things back on track with an excellent short from my Country of birth, Joseph Brosnahan's 2016 offering Tenacious Prey. Before I start, and this should give some indication as to how cool I think this short is, I'm already comparing it to the Masters of Horror episode Pick Me Up (2006).
Joseph Brosnahan kicks off his short with two blokes discussing their favourite topics, and you half expect them to have the same conversation in the pub later. Through some quick shot back and forth we can pretty quickly deduce that Mickey is having his killing cherry broken while Harker is an old hand at slaughtering chicks, this will become important later on. What Brosnahan does demonstrate is getting the situation outlined pretty quickly and having the audience decidedly interested in where things might go from here. As any writing coach will also tell you, get your story happening in the middle of things, we'll find out later how the characters come to be in their present situation, the viewer is in the middle of a journey of discovery not at some point before departure. In other words the trip is what is worth experiencing, packing and getting travel insurance covered isn't of any interest whatsoever.
Having got our attention the Writer/Director next introduces our "victim" for the evening, Ellen, a supposed dead chick, murdered by Harker and Mickey. Now here's the good point, Harker is immediately given motivation, he doesn't want his victims - all young ladies, to age. Perhaps if the short was movie length we would of also got some motivation for Mickey, but for the most part we can settle on his one defining trait, he's a bit clumsy, perhaps Harker's Falstaff if we wanted to go all Shakespeare or something.
Naturally Ellen isn't quite dead, Mickey was meant to ensure this was the case but hey he's the bumbling one of the duo remember, and is soon on the loose facing a couple of psychopaths. Now just going to drop it in right here, Jessica Neil (Ellen) nails it, vulnerable yet desperate enough to stay alive she is going to use every possible avenue of escape and she has to fight back. Neil has a huge future in thrillers and indeed horror, wonder if she can scream like a Banshee with its fingers caught in a closed car door. As heroines go Ellen is more in the Ripley mode and isn't about to run in high heels and naturally fall over cause horror. Definitely a name to pencil into your tracking, in a non-freaky nature, list of people to keep an eye out for in future movies.
Guess I can't finish the review without tossing some slightly bad news about Tenacious Prey onto the table. There's some not quite effective special effects in use that underline this short was shot on a shoe string budget. Well either you spend all your pocket money on effects, try to crowd fund it, or do what you can with what you have. There's one shot of a car that clearly depicts a model, can't give more details without giving away too much of the plot, but you will know it when you see it. Equally the blood in use wasn't purchased on the high street via blood packs, and it doesn't look authentic. For mine minor points, but in the purpose of full disclosure it had to be pointed out.
Where Joseph Brosnahan really scores a few majors is with the script that is concise, moves things along, and has this sort of dark humour going down. All of the dialogue used in the short is to move the plot along or, and this is shocking, develop some character traits, whoa Brosnahan pull the buggy up to curb there, character development in under 13 minutes, most Hollywood Directors can't managed to achieve that in 90 minutes! Just underlying here, the script is excellent, Brosnahan should be writing full length movies, preferable in the horror genre, we need all the descent writers we can get to be honest.
Almost out of room here and forgot to mention the two staples most readers are strangely interested in. T&A is off the table kids, sorry if that's a blow but hey Hugh is also off the table, if needed there's plenty of porn on the net, or so they tell me. And while there was a fair amount of violence going down, two psychopaths right, gorehounds aren't exactly going to be sending Brosnahan Christmas cards on this one.
You know I'm going to recommend this one right, at the very least you should check out the script, which is a salient lesson in how to construct the visuals of some dark musings. While Tenacious Prey might not have the polish of some higher budgeted shorts it still manages to deliver effectively on the situation, right till the last frame which I'm not about to give away, worth waiting for though, smart phones are going to destroy the fabric of society you know. Hey and you don't even need to be that tenacious to view the short, its embedded below thanks to YouTube, take some time out of your schedule to catch a viewing, you can thank me later. Joseph Brosnahan delivers a very solid short in Tenacious Prey that bodes well for his future in film making.
If after more of Brosnahan's work then check out his office website right here.