Short Film Review “I Blame Monty Hall”

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First, the Recap:

An older house, a creepy relative, and a constant, overwhelming sense of deja vu. Sounds like the perfect recipe for one fantastic weekend, eh? Let’s add to this mix human curiosity and issues arising from poking one’s nose into places it shouldn’t be–yes, everything will work out just fine. Kate (Reid Cox) and her boyfriend Charlie (Ben Gavin) have just arrived to the home of his aunt, Rose (Jean St. James), having volunteered to watch over the residence while Rose is away for several days.

Managing to “survive” the initial introduction and uptight attitude towards her that Rose puts forth, despite Charlie’s attempts to prevent the awkward exchanges, Kate finally settles in for the stay. However, one aspect of the house remains a mystery to her–a locked door under the staircase that Rose stressed is off limits. Unwilling to leave it alone, Kate’s initial exploration as to what lies behind it leads to a startling incident. Still not wanting to let it go, Kate is absolutely unprepared for the revelation that awaits beyond the threshold.

Next, my Mind:

Rod Serling would be proud with writer/director Ben Mehlman’s 10-minute short film effort, complete with its smartly executed narrative, eerie, “Twilight Zone”-esque atmosphere, and equally freaky finale sure to take viewers totally by surprise.  Thanks to the intelligent writing that accompanies the visual elements, the viewer is treated to some excellently placed factors that ensure the mysterious, fantastical journey the characters encounter is made that much more satisfying and inherently, even if subtly at first, disturbing. Solid cinematography, an ominous musical score, and several classic “fright film” moments add wonderfully to the events as they unfold, again, keeping the viewer utterly entranced.

Reid Cox is fantastic in the role of Kate, with an affecting combination of doe-eyed innocence and steady, determined resolve to make the best impression on Charlie’s Aunt Rose she can, while likewise demonstrating she’s no pushover either. Add to this the character’s initial confusion and sense of deja vu that starts the whole escapade, it allows Reid to further infuse Kate’s mindset to find answers via a deeper, though stubbornly ill-advised, inquisitiveness. Gavin presents Charlie as the doting, protective boyfriend whose making every attempt to keep things civil and settled for the weekend while also trying to convince Kate that her need to know about “the door” isn’t as pressing as she’s making it to be.

St. James is great in her brief appearance as Aunt Rose, providing the character with that perfectly suited level of arrogance and not-so-hidden menace, yet doing so in an effectively understated way, which makes it that much more threatening. In total, “I Blame Monty Hall” is a fresh, fun, well-engineered, impressive, spooky adventure that very much heralds back to the aforementioned TV show’s cautionary tales, because sometimes, it’s just best to leave certain doors unopened.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!

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