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 maybe otherworldly, like today’s selection, A Tap At the Window, written and directed by Jimmy Ren and Jack Vang. They work under the banner of Glass Pixels Studios, and they’re also responsible for The Toothbrush, one of my favorites from last year’s DHFF.
A knock at the door has been a terror trope for at least as long as W.W. Jacobs’s short story “The Monkey’s Paw” in 1902. And probably a lot longer than that. This starts off with that same basic principle – something is tapping at the window of a woman’s apartment, and at first, she doesn’t know what it is. It won’t reveal itself. And when it does, you wish it hadn’t.
Ren and Vang put a surreal twist on the haunted house (or in this case, apartment) story. Since it’s a short, they know they don’t have to explain everything, and a little mystery can be an effective tool. There might be a little Lovecraft in here, but that’s left to your imagination.
If you’re a filmmaker, Ren and Vang offer a detailed account of their filming experience in the description on their YouTube channel, down to the specific cameras they used and the challenges they faced using a greenscreen in certain scenes. It might be worth checking out if you’re considering doing something similar.