Monday, 4 March 2013

Give a little, get a lot; Short film: DONOR

And we're back!

Returning to the blog, I was surprised to find a link in my emails to a short film (you can do that, you know). I'm always delighted to check out something new, but several times, I have been caught watching feature length pieces that are either extremely poorly executed or of little relevance to me (you might not believe me, but I DO restrain myself from sharing everything on here), so think of my relief when I got to view a nicely timed (under 10 minutes) and thematically relevant short. In fact, I have no hesitation in wanting to share it with everyone. Ladies and gents, I give you DONOR:

Here's the official synopsis:
Two people awaken and find themselves somewhere neither thought existed outside of their nightmares. Donor includes all of the elements of effective horror, making it a film that is truly terrifying on a psychological level.

There is some background to the film that, though is not needed to enjoy it, does make it all that more impressive. The film was made as part of the Chicago 48 Hour Film Project, where a filmmaking team is given a genre and a few guidelines, and then have just 48 hours to complete the entire film. That is, writing the script, shooting it, editing it, putting music to it, making the sound at least presentable, and any other touches that can take upwards of a month to complete on a typical short, were all done in just 48 hours. As in, 2 days. Assumedly 2 sleep-deprived days. I wouldn't have been surprised if it had been a poor quality film with these kind of constraints, but even if this film had months behind it, it would still be pretty impressive, let alone it being done in the time it takes me to sleep off a hangover.

Technically, the film is astonishing. It looks like a long thought out and planned shoot, rivaling anything else I have seen in a short. The opening sequence is straight out of Se7en, and the lighting and set pieces are nothing short of convincing. The effects are simple, but never once do you question their authenticity. Donor actually gives me a lot of faith in the future of horror if someone can pull off something so outstanding in such little time. And I keep mentioning the amount of time they had to shoot, but even if this had been a loooong production, it still would have been noteworthy.

Because I'm a jerk, I will point out the film has definite flaws, which all come down to the time constraints. Its acting is pretty poor, but that said, it is actually very bearable because the folks involved are at least giving it socks. The other big flaw, and bear with me on this one, is its story, with the plot essentially being a Saw rehash with a (SPOILER) The Mist style ending. For a lot of films (and they really are a dime a dozen), that would be that, and plot issues are kind of a big deal, but I had a think about it (because the film deserved a bit of a ponder), and came to a conclusion the plot has more potential than first glances show. If it was expanded to a feature length, the idea could actually play out better, exploring a lot of avenues to do with human organ harvesting and the people involved (like a fucked up version of The Island). 

But even with this, more importantly than anything, the film comes off with oodles of passion for what it is doing. Not just a wink and nod or that annoying referential meta nonsense, but to actually go 'We have seen people being mutilated in a room, and we are ready to try our damndest to improve on it'. 

Take 7 minutes out of your life and enjoy DONOR.

Do YOU have a film you would like me to have a look at and rant on/about? Drop me a line at

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