Story Details

A Supernatural Short: Electromagnetic (2021) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 606 days ago on Entertainment -  Stanley, a director, and his wife, Alexa, leave a party to visit Tomas, the editor of Stanley’s latest movie. Stanley wants to see the newest cut of his work but, instead, Tomas shows him something that defies reality.This is the plot of the horror short film Electromagnetic. It establishes its characters and premise in a small dialogue exchange in the first couple of minutes that efficiently conveys everything the audience needs to know about this situation. Then, it gets Stanley and Tomas alone. The relationships between the characters are painted in broad strokes, so it can speed past them quickly to get to the crux of its action. Since this is a genre piece, and the most interesting moments occur once the men are in Tomas’ studio, that approach works strongly in its favor. The story, being less than 9 minutes long, does not overstay its welcome. It takes its cues from Tomas by relying predominantly on sound and visual editing to create its mood, as opposed to dialogue or nuanced characterizations. It is what Stanley hears, and the (largely unseen) visions the audio inspires in his mind, that shakes him to his core. Director Andrew Marks (who was a visual effects artist on The Force Awakens) doesn’t overthink things. The idea of horror is oftentimes just as effective as showing your audience a horrific image. I wouldn’t call it scary, yet Electromagnetic becomes haunting thanks to the audio, the visual editing, which simulates what is happening in Stanley’s mind, and the expressive performances.The characters aren’t complicated, though they do not have to be in order for the story to work in the way it had to. Complications would only waste time. Bodhi Elfman, as Stanley, starts off annoyed and arrogant, before getting rattled by what Tomas plays for him. Kate Simmons, as Alexa, goes from bored to concerned. Both of them exist solely to react to their experiences. The best performance, definitely the most commanding, is by José Zúñiga, urgent and mysterious as Tomas. His job is to set things in motion and suggest unlimited possibilities. He has more to do in his performance than the other actors, bringing desperation, ominous seriousness and some cryptic hints. He does everything that was needed in the role, supplying the majority of the character details and plot information necessary to allow what happens in his studio to have as much impact as it can.Without giving anything away, Marks pairs the unnatural with the very personal to develop a sense of unease. His direction, along with the editing, by David Marks, are the aspects that make this short as successful as it is. The cinema’s ability to get viewers (or, in this case, listeners) to feel something deeply is used pretty impressively. The execution of that concept is well done, even if the writing is too thin for Electromagnetic to truly stand out. Still, it is a good-looking movie that takes advantage of its form. With this being Andrew Marks’ directorial debut, it does make me excited to think about what he could do next.-Ben Pivoz (function() { var zergnet = document.createElement('script'); zergnet.type = 'text/javascript'; zergnet.async = true; zergnet.src = (document.location.protocol == "https:" ? "https:" : "http:") + '//'; var znscr = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; znscr.parentNode.insertBefore(zergnet, znscr); })();

Submit a Comment

Log in to comment or register here