Genre: Crime, Drama, Horror, Thriller, Short.
Starring: Max Cavenham, Emma Kelly, Matti Kolirin, Ines Marcelo Curto, Julius Rost, Sadie-Jane Scott, Judson Vaughan, Annabel Pemberton, Chris Barnes, Steve Harper.
Year Of Release: 2017
Runtime: 15 Minutes
Director: Judson Vaughan
Writer(s): Chris Barnes & Judson Vaughan
Synopsis: “In the midst of national hysteria and incomprehensible personal tragedy, a child is born bearing the scars of other people’s sins.” IMDB
The opening music for “Burn” harkens back to the “classic horror” music you remember when you watched the likes of “The Amityville Horror” or films of that era, the music by Remi Brossier just completely draws you in from the opening note.
The main story begins with Peter (Max) who is a soon to be father setting up a camera to start recording messages for his unborn son, on the surface it feels like a loving fatherly gesture, Peter is doing so because he knows he likely won’t be around long enough to see his son grow or potentially even be born due to him being sick. While Peter is filming these videos there is a serial killer terrorising his home town causing hysteria and making his wife feel too uncomfortable to even watch the news stories about it. I don’t want to talk too much about the plot, because that’s where the film gets its charm, given the runtime also I’d hate to take away anything for somebody watching it.
The plot moves relatively quickly, but not too quick that it takes away from the story being told, but the pace some short films run it make be a shock to some. However, the ability to fit a feature length story into a 15 minute runtime deserves plaudits. The short is a very smart story that doesn’t try to alienate the audience by exploring themes you struggle to understand, not to say others may take something else from it, I just found that the story while well told was easy to follow. When you feel like you know where the story is going, you really don’t, the ending is disturbing but a brilliant conclusion to a story than doesn’t stutter at all. It plays out at a great pace, to the point you are fully invested with these characters and you’ve only known them a few minutes but it gives the illusion of a feature length story. The story continually gets darker from the get go, culminating in a very satisfying end.
“Burn” is not what I expected, not that I had any real preconceived notions of what to expect, but this wasn’t it, but in the most wonderful fashion. The short is an incredible mix of real life emotions and turmoil, drawing you in with relatable and real characters, people who you wouldn’t bat an eye at if they lived on your street. Especially Charlie and Lou they are well fleshed out and rounded characters and to do that within the runtime is impressive. Peter is terrifying and menacing, Max does a great job of making your skin crawl when watching the home videos he leaves for Charlie. He is able to draw you in with the loving father but also gives you goosebumps at the same time during his home videos. Charlie played by Matti Kolirin was so wonderfully innocent to the events that he is able to momentarily distract you from what is happening to give the finale an added hit. As John from Movies Films And Flix said “In those show-stealing moments Max Cavenham was brilliant! So much more than just “great scenes [that happen to be] in a horror movie,” the heart of those opening scenes transcends the genre and would shine in any film of any genre.” In regards to the performance from Max Cavenham and I couldn’t put it any better myself.
Overall, “Burn” is an incredible success in its execution, from the technical side to the creative side the short delivers in all aspects. Lots of praise goes to director Vaughan and cinematographer Joaquim Barreto who work in perfect harmony in bringing the writers work to life, the film has a kind of Sinister vibe to it, which is not a bad thing, from the get go the opening scenes have you hooked. The film is as heart-warming as it is heartbreaking, throwing you through a roller-coaster of emotions from start to finish, the film is a brilliant combination of crime, horror & thriller coming together in a tightly packaged film that after watching will leave you with a little smirk. My favourite thing about the film is that it just oozes originality, it is suspenseful and entertaining throughout. Hard to believe it was shot across a mere 3 days given the quality and expertised shown throughout, kudos to everybody involved, very excited to see future endeavours all who had a hand in making.