Every day during October, the Department of Tangents presents a different short film for the Daily Horror Film Fest. It can be flat-out scary, funny horror, or just plain creepy. Today’s entry is Charlie, and English film written, produced, and directed by Luke Mordue of Mordue Pictures as part of a challenge to make a short film in one night for under ten pounds.
A lot of horror films have a problem with telegraphing the bulk of their action. They set things up so neatly, you can guess what’s going to happen next, or at least guess what the likely twist will be. Charlie starts out like that, with a man named Dan reading a chain e-mail to his friend Johnny. If Dan doesn’t forward the e-mail, he’ll be visited by Charlie at one minute after nine the next day. And Charlie doesn’t seem to have good intentions. Dan doesn’t send the e-mail.
A couple of things save this film from predictability (come back to this part after you watch to avoid spoilers). Part of that is in the story Mordue has written. Charlie supposedly visits when someone is alone. But Dan has a date. Well, that falls through, and then we get to see Dan walk through a bit of his day as the unsent chain e-mail starts to bug him.
The other saving grace is Mordue’s younger brother Max, who plays Dan. He makes his fear palpable. He’s not just going through the motions when the lights go out and he begins to suspect someone is in the house with him. He is terrified and trying to keep it together, and Max does a good job transferring that to the viewer.
The last element, well, I’ve given away too much in this review already (hope you heeded the spoiler warning), so I will just say that Mordue has learned that a viewer’s imagination can be infinitely more frightening than showing something explicitly on camera. As a bonus, I’ve included the “making of” short Mordue made for Charlie below the film itself.
The Making Of Charlie