Short Film Review “Meow”



First, the Recap:

Pets. Got to love them. They are loyal, friendly, waiting for you to give them attention, and never talk back, argue, or make you feel unwanted. Yes, pets are wonderful companions. Unless, unbeknownst to you at first, dear owner, there’s more to your furry friend than meets the eye. Case in point would be 20-something Samantha (Eleonore Dendy), having just moved into a new apartment, and most likely simply trying to escape a constantly phoning, rather autocratic mother (Nancy Marvy).

Settling in finally, Samantha then deals with the property’s peculiar and equally questionable landlord (Charles Hubbell), who stresses the importance of following the building’s rules about pets, after her neighbors swear they hear animal noises coming from her apartment. Denying anything is happening, events then transpire that cause Samantha to become the unexpected keeper of a stray cat (Nala), whose presence soon creates more horrific chaos than just the complaints of residents!

Next, my Mind:

Get ready to take a trip to yesteryear, folks, specifically the campy universe that was the 80’s horror film craze, thanks to writer/director Chris Jopp and producer Henry Schneider’s 13-minute ode to murderous felines. Executed with a quite entertaining conglomeration of over-the-top horror, noir-infused cinematography, and intentionally comedic presence, the film barrels along with wicked intent, its tongue very firmly in cheek. Deftly utilizing so many of the elements found in the bygone era’s overtly exaggerated offerings, even the brief moments of truly bloody violence cannot be taken too seriously due to the very nature of the genre the film is emulating, a good thing since this reviewer isn’t a real horror fan.

Dendy just excels as Samantha, a young woman simply trying to make a fresh start via getting out from under her overbearing mother and enjoy her own life, then becoming the prototypical girl in distress (or so we think!), then turning around and potentially becoming her new pet’s best friend, never mind a death or two it has caused. It’s brilliant acting and a totally amusing character. Likewise, Hubbell’s landlord is a wonderful exercise in deliberately excessive creepiness that is so well performed by the actor. He creates one of those weasels of a man you just know will get his, much less when the landlord’s own hidden agenda comes screaming out. Then there’s Nala, the cat, who enacts the role of killer with passion!

Supporting turns from Marvy as Samantha’s mother and M.P. Johnson as a hapless pizza delivery man both offer key moments in the proceedings, and as hinted above, there are a couple succinctly shot instances of gore, but done in a way the doesn’t overemphasize or make it the point of the film, which is an additional credit to the filmmakers for me. In total, “Meow” is a hilariously effective, fitting tribute to the prolific but not always high-quality genre that is horror film, willing to so awesomely poke fun at not only the decade it parallels, but our own innate fears about things that continue to go bump in the night. Here, kitty, kitty!

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

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