In 2015, a 12-minute long horror film called Vicious started touring the festival circuit - and doing exceptionally well in the process. I'm one of the lucky few who has watched the film (it isn't yet publicly available), and it's one of the best horror films I've ever seen.
Shortly after the death of her sister Katie, Lydia returns home one night to find her front door ajar. Trying her best to ignore it, she attempts to get on with her night, but something has other ideas. This is Vicious' basic premise, and it spends its entire runtime developing and twisting that premise into a chilling, suspenseful experience that you aren't likely to forget anytime soon.
First-time writer/director Oliver Park's Hitchcockean influences are clear throughout Vicious' tense 12 plus minutes. The simple yet beautiful lighting design often tricks you into thinking that you're watching a black and white movie, and composer Matthew Walker's eerie music cues do a wonderful job of calling back to the glory days of classic horror. Park was able to assemble an absolutely fantastic crew for his first outing in the director's chair - due in part to his 'day job' as an award-winning actor - and the quality from every department really shows. He's managed to transition from in-front of, to behind the camera seamlessly, and his passion for his new found craft shines through in every single frame of Vicious.
Throughout Vicious, there are no cheap scare tactics, and everything has a point and reason behind it. It doesn't scare you just for the sake of scaring you, each fright has a method (and perhaps a madness) behind it, and each one will stay with you for a long time after the credits end. I was recently lucky enough to sit down with Oliver for an interview (which I'll be posting in the next few days), and he told me the best way to watch Vicious is in the dark with headphones in, so that's how I watched it. I still haven't recovered. From start to end, Vicious is a horror film unlike any other - it's intense, it's genuinely terrifying, and if nothing else it's one of the finest examples of horror film-making in recent memory.
Vicious is due to be released publicly in February, as long as crowdfunding for Park's follow-up, Still, reaches its target of £5,000. If you want to get involved in Still, you can find out more at their Facebook page here. To tide you over until Vicious' public release, here's the trailer:
If you enjoyed my review of Vicious, you'll probably enjoy my take on other geeky topics, so check out my podcast - it's right over here.