WATCH THE TRAILER(S) HERE
First, the Recap:
The things that keep you awake at night. More specifically, being jerked back into an awakened state by nightmares and haunting visions. A shudder, a cold sweat, and the unnerving sense something is just not right, one can only find safety in returning to reality–right? It is nighttime in a suburban home and one such soul named Amy (Janet Miranda) sits up in a highly startled state of being having just endured an eerie and decidedly scary dream.
Yet, even as she attempts to regain her composure, Amy’s choice to “walk it off” by taking a stroll though the home’s rooms only allows a new awareness of terror to manifest, as she suddenly realizes the random noises she’s hearing and the overwhelming sense of chilling ominousness surrounding her is assuredly no longer in her sleep. Banging at the door and a paralyzing initial encounter with a killer called Defarious (Jason Torres) signals the nightmare is only starting.
Next, my Mind:
It’s a brisk, 15-minute journey viewers entertain in experiencing the living horror one young woman comes face to face with and struggles to endure during writer/director/producer/editor Chase Michael Pallante’s indie short film effort, and it’s a road much, much traveled, yet still manages to elicit a few genuine chills. It’s truly a challenge in this modern era to offer anything wholly original within the horror genre, as it really has all been done before. Due to this, I cannot say any new ground was covered here, plus the overall angle the narrative was taking was pretty obvious as to its final outcome. But, there is no denying that, despite these perceived weaknesses for me, there were key moments where I felt those darn tingles of fright crawl up my spine and raise the hairs on my arms, etc, because there is something so overtly unsettling about the fears darkness, the unknown, creepy images, and sinister monsters create. The sometimes grainy cinematography provides that visual sense of dread and impending doom quite well, while the prototypical music score swells in all the expected places, trying to forge that additional aura of trepidation. It didn’t always succeed for me, but it’s totally understood why all the tools of the horror trade are utilized.
One can only imagine that many, many, many an actress has had her time in the spotlight, past or present, as an official “scream queen” in a fright flick, and here is no exception via the performance laid out by Miranda as Amy, a likewise typical scared-out-of-her-wits, why-are-you-making-such-bad-choices-in-this-situation young woman whose fate is most likely sealed from the very moment she awakes from her freakish dream, well, scared out of her wits. Watching as she effectively “falls” into the standard bad decisions seen in so many a horror film is actually entertaining still as you just cannot help but start yelling at the screen “NO! NO! Don’t go in THERE! Run away!! Get out!!”. Miranda enacts all of this with enough effectiveness that befits the character, but it’s not really stretching anyone’s acting skills here overall. Torres does a solid job in playing Amy’s menacing and disturbed tormentor, Defarious, a creature or basic masked madman who enjoys toying around with his prey, making them question their reality even, before finally deciding it’s time to do what killers do. The mask Torres wears does certainly lend itself to sinister effect, and his moments coming out of the darkness to get Amy work well.
Supporting turns are found here from Sonia Sierra as Amy’s ghostly looking and possibly not actually there Mom while Shanae Harris makes an appearance via voice work. In total, “Defarious” will stand firm with diehard horror fans who don’t even care how many films they see that carry the same premise, same results, and same overall execution. This is a good effort regardless from Pallante and Co., just not great for this reviewer.
As always, this is all for your consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading!