Friday Night Movie: "Mockingbird"

>> Friday, April 15, 2011

Earlier this week, Salon featured an interview with producer Drew Daywalt, whose studio, Fewdio, produces the film version of flash fiction--very short horror vignettes. Of those featured by Salon, the best (and first) would be Marichelle Daywalt's "Mockingbird," a creepy and ambiguous bit of nastiness:

Some of Fewdio's other efforts perhaps don't pan out quite so well ("Ninja Clown Monster" turns out to be little more than its title and both "Breach" and "Bedfellows" would actually be better if the filmmakers hadn't settled for FX-enhanced jump scares). But it's an interesting idea and I hope they're able to keep making these things. One of the problems feature-length horror films run into time and time again is that sometimes the necessities of plot and characterization drag down a clever gimmick or shock--or, rather, the failure to pay heed to the necessities of plot and character over ninety minutes, one might say. That is, a six-minute film might well get away with some character being an idiot and opening a door that's better left closed, but a feature might require a character to be a serial moron just to pad out the length to something worth paying ten bucks for. (After all, how many horror movies would end up being five minutes long if the heroine simply said, "Whoa, fuck this--I'll dial 911 from a well-lit parking lot in the next county," as soon as she tripped over the first bit of nastiness.)

Kudos are also due to the Fewdio folks and Daywalt for doing something like "Mockingbird," which is all the more horrifying for not showing anything at all, a nice little trick that Jacques Tourneur was especially gifted at that seems to have largely been lost. Honestly, I can imagine a lot more gore than Eli Roth can even afford, and the stuff in my head is inevitably a lot more plausible-looking than anything the best SFX guys will ever be able to paint a set with. This is one of those things that shouldn't even need to be said, but here we are.


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